East Coast storms cancel flights out of PDX

East Coast storms cancel flights out of PDX

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by Nina Mehlhaf, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on January 6, 2014 at 6:40 AM

Updated Monday, Jan 6 at 10:16 PM

PORTLAND -- The snow and ice storm on the east coast is making for gridlock in the nation's airports and forcing cancellations at PDX.

The Portland International had 16 flights canceled Monday, and most of them were because of the snow and ice out east. Cities including Chicago, New York, Detroit, even Dallas and Houston canceled flights in and out of Portland.

Flights were also delayed because of new rules for pilots that took effect Saturday. They must now have ten hours off between shifts, and eight of those must be uninterrupted sleep. It's the most sweeping change in pilot rules in 50 years. It was brought on by a 2009 plane crash that killed 50 people in Buffalo, New York, where pilot fatigue was a factor.

The lines were very long Monday morning at PDX, but all the passengers KGW spoke to said when it comes to safety, they don't mind waiting. "We don't need them nodding off at the helm," said Christian Burton. "It's kind of a bad thing. Lot of folks' lives are in their hands."

Madelyn Long agreed, "I think it's good, I think it's very good. Because they get tired and then they go to sleep flying and then they go boom, and I don't want to go boom."

United Airlines was reportedly hiring 100 pilots a month to keep up with the new rules. JetBlue is even shutting down service Monday night in and out of Boston's Logan Airport, New York's JFK and LaGuardia and New Jersey's Newark airport to rest their crews and equipment.

With the blizzard conditions out east, it could take days to get people where they're going, and lots of relief crews stepping in to follow the rules.

Link to PDX delay, cancellation list

More: 'Polar vortex' pushes subzero temps into Midwest

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