Friday, July 15, 2011

Hailstorm Strands 1,000 Fliers in Denver - 14th July 2011

About 1,000 passengers were stranded overnight at Denver International Airport, the fifth-busiest in the country, after a hailstorm forced airlines to cancel flights.

United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL), which has the largest share of passengers at the airport, canceled 38 departures and 56 arrivals, Laura Coale, an airport spokeswoman, said in a recorded announcement. Three-quarter-inch hail pelted the airport just after 9 p.m., Wednesday, damaging about 40 planes, Coale said.

United, the world’s biggest airline, serves more than 26 percent of Denver, according to data from the Bureau of Transportation statistics. Mike Trevino, a United spokesman, did not know how many of the stranded passengers were from the carrier’s flights.

“We are currently inspecting aircraft before returning them to service,” he said.

None of the stranded passengers were from Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) flights, said Marilee McInnis, a spokeswoman for the Dallas-based carrier. Southwest serves more than 20 percent of passengers at Denver, the second-largest share.

Three aircraft were damaged in the storm, McInnis said. Two were pulled from the fleet and the other was repaired and returned to normal operations. Additional planes were ferried to Denver to transport passengers Wednesday night and replace the aircraft undergoing repairs.

No damage was reported to the Denver facilities, Coale said. Source