WEATHER PROBLEMS, FAA REQUIREMENTS CAUSE SHORT-TERM FLIGHT INTERRUPTIONS
(HOBBS, NM) Recent severe weather at the Lea County Regional Airport damaged critical navigation equipment and led to the temporary delay and the cancellation of one United Express flight to and from the airport. County officials and airport management are working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and United Airlines to make repairs and hope to have the issue resolved no later than Saturday, August 28.
“A lightning strike damaged critical equipment needed by air controllers to safely guide the aircraft into the airport,” said Jennifer Grassham, President and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County which manages and markets the flight service as FlyHobbs. “The repairs are expected to be finished and operational by Friday, August 27 but we are also working with the airline and other personnel to provide alternative solutions no later than Saturday, just in case.”
One flight has been cancelled since the lightning strike, and United Airlines has worked with passengers to reschedule travel. FAA requirements mandate that the equipment be fully operational before resuming normal operations or employing trained weather observers to provide on-site services. “Resuming our daily flight service to Houston has been our top priority since the storm,” said Grassham. “Our partners at United Airlines and Lea County have been working around the clock to get air service back to normal operations.”
The EDCLC was first established in Lea County in 1963 to help recruit new, quality businesses to the area and assist with the retention and expansion of existing industry. FlyHobbs operates in conjunction with United Airlines to maintain and expand flight service to Houston as well as the return of direct flights to Denver soon that serve as major air transportation hubs to better facilitate economic development in Lea County.