Airlines are taking a more proactive approach to rerouting flights ahead of predicted snowstorms, and cancellations in February may have contributed to the dip in departing traffic — even though snow didn't always materialize.
Both of the state's major commercial airports reported fewer outbound passengers in February compared with the same month last year. At Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, departures decreased by 1.9 percent; Tulsa International Airport had a nearly 5 percent drop.
Karen Carney, a spokeswoman for Will Rogers World Airport, said predicted winter weather on Feb. 25 resulted in 23 flights being canceled. Airlines also had weather-related cancellations on Feb. 12 and Feb. 20. Halting flights ahead of predicted storms appears to be the new normal, she said.
“It comes from many years of learning the hard way. Even though it's inconvenient for travelers at the airport, it helps minimize the impact throughout their system,” she said.
As a result, fewer travelers are getting stranded at airports and aircraft are more often kept overnight in cities not affected by winter weather, meaning the planes can fly again the next day.