Winter fog stalls SFO flights

The Bay Area’s winter tradition of heavy fog and low clouds rolled through San Francisco International Airport’s runway areas Tuesday, limiting departures and arrivals to one of two runways and delaying flights from morning till mid afternoon.

Up to one-third of departures and arrivals at the airport were halted between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. as pilots could not see farther than a half-mile, Duty Manager Michael Brown said. Officials said residual delays continued until 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Flights were delayed an average of an hour but some waits were longer, Brown said. Neither the airport nor the Federal Aviation Administration had same-day statistics Tuesday but Brown estimated that about one-third to one-fourth of the flights were halted.

Passengers with delayed flights may have actually turned out to be the lucky travelers Tuesday. When the fog was thickest in the morning, SFO arrivals had to land at airports as far away as Reno, Nev.

The shortest flights and those on the smallest aircrafts were most affected, Brown said. Most flights traveling to or from farther east than St. Louis were unaffected but there were a few international delays that may have been caused by the haze. The planes hit worst by the delays were smaller aircraft with less advanced instrument landing equipment, he said. SFO officials did not know how many planes were affected by the foggy conditions.

By the time both runways opened at 3 p.m., visibility had increased to three miles, Brown said.

Shuffling traffic around happens quite often this time of year because of the area’s weather, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

While the weather is typical for this time of year, the amount of delays was “relatively uncommon,” Brown said.

In case the delays continue until today, airport officials advised passengers to contact their carrier before leaving their homes.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocalTransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Muni’s K-Ingleside trains will resume service after a long hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
K-Ingleside train to return on May 15

Announcement comes on the heels of pressure from Supervisor Myrna Melgar

Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs speaks to San Francisco’s new Guaranteed Income Advisory Group on April 16, 2021. (Courtesy SFGOV)
City launches task force to explore Universal Basic Income programs

San Francisco on Friday launched a guaranteed income task force that could… Continue reading

Demonstrators march from Mission High School towards the San Francisco Police station on Valencia Street. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Vigil, march honors those killed by police

Deaths of Daunte Wright, Roger Allen and others prompt renewed calls for defunding

A Recology employee stands at the comapany’s recycling facility on Pier 96 in 2016. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)
Nuru scandal: Feds charge second former Recology executive with bribery

A second former Recology executive is facing charges for allegedly bribing ex-Public… Continue reading

Kiana Williams
Stanford’s Kiana Williams drafted by WNBA champion Seattle Storm

Kiana Williams is going from one championship team to another. A senior… Continue reading

Most Read