As other see it: Airports need backup plansNews of the passengers who spent the night trapped in a plane at the Rochester, Minn., airport likely left most readers shaking their heads in disbelief.
By: Grand Forks Herald, Worthington Daily Globe
News of the passengers who spent the night trapped in a plane at the Rochester, Minn., airport likely left most readers shaking their heads in disbelief. But here’s hoping that at the Grand Forks airport, officials were nodding — in vigorous determination not to let such an incident develop here.
Today, those officials should be making sure contingency plans are in place that everyone knows what to do. ...
As is the case with many serious mishaps, this one came about because of a chain of unfortunate events. For airport and airline executives, each event should be a lesson learned.
First off was the hour. At about midnight on Aug. 8, thunderstorms forced an ExpressJet Airlines flight to divert to Rochester instead of landing in Minneapolis, the plane’s intended destination.
The second event was the airport. As is typical among local or regional airports, many operations at the Rochester airport are closed or curtailed overnight. ...
Left in charge was a local representative of Mesaba Airlines, who refused to let the passengers enter the terminal.
But while that refusal was a mistake, it’s at least understandable under the circumstances. And that’s all the more reason for airports to have good contingency plans in place. ...
Facilities weren’t the issue in Rochester. Training was the issue — training for late-night and other situations that call for people to think out of the box. Local airports should study this case and incorporate the lessons learned.
Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald