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Chill in the air reason for cancelling flights: United

WITH Winnipeg locked into a frigid winter with no relief in sight, an American airline is having trouble keeping up in the cold.

Nine United Airlines flights, operating as United Express under a partnership between United Airlines and ExpressJet, flying both in and out of Winnipeg were cancelled on Monday. Three flights scheduled to leave Winnipeg Tuesday were also cancelled. And on Wednesday, one United Airlines flight was cancelled.

Jarek Beem, a spokesman for ExpressJet, said the weather in Winnipeg contributed to the cancellations.

"It's a combination of these ice crystals that form in the air and the temperature," he said. "That puts the conditions outside of the operating guidelines of the aircraft.

"It really just depends on the weather," said Beem, adding flights are cancelled or delayed on a case-by-case system.

Beem also said some of these flights were not cancelled because of Winnipeg's weather, but because of a storm in their departure city.

Felicia Wiltshire, manager of communications for the Winnipeg Airports Authority, said there's no way to know which flights will be cancelled in the coming days, if any.

"All of the decisions are made by the airlines," she said. "It varies with their protocols, their safety standards. It varies from plane to plane."

Wiltshire said she doesn't expect an unusual amount of cancellations in the coming days, but the weather forecast is far from comforting.

For the last few days, Winnipeg has been colder than it usually is as the new year begins. With snowfall expected on Friday and temperatures sinking to below -30 C for the weekend, more flights might not make it off the ground.

jordan.power@freepress.mb.ca

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