Hext: Bad-weather flights could divert to Rhinelander
HOUGHTON — Flyers trying to get back to the Copper Country in winter are all too familiar with bad weather keeping them from their destination.
Some relief may be coming. Houghton County Memorial Airport Manager Dennis Hext said Tuesday the county is talking with SkyWest Airlines about diverting flights to Rhinelander, Wisconsin in case of bad weather. Currently, a flight unable to land in Houghton would return to Chicago.
If a flight were diverted, passengers would either take a bus the rest of the way, or complete the flight after the plane refuels, Hext said.
“I can’t remember how many times they get up here, they divert, and then all of a sudden the weather … clears up and stays,” he said. “So hopefully we can work something out with them.”
Hext said the airport’s load factors for July through September had climbed back to pre-COVID levels.
Ticket prices have continued to be below normal, which Hext said could be because airlines had anticipated the Delta variant casing a slump in business.
Hext expects prices to rise later as airlines seek cash flow.
“The airline shortage that’s going to hit us, and the shortages all over, it could get ugly,” he said. “Not just with the airlines, but everything …right now, I hope those rates stay low, because coming into November, December, January, that’d be a good time to buy.”