De-icing problems baffling

We fail to understand how the company in charge of de-icing operations at Minot International Airport finds it acceptable to have only one of four de-icing trucks available for use in mid-February.

DGS, a ground-handling service owned by Delta Air Lines, has four de-icing trucks stationed in Minot. There have been problems with de-icing equipment in the past few months, so company officials increased the fleet of de-icing trucks to four. Last Saturday, three of the trucks were out of service for repairs, and the fourth truck broke down, causing flight delays, cancellations and safety concerns.

It’s unacceptable for the Minot airport to be served by a company that apparently doesn’t make keeping its de-icing equipment operational a high priority in the middle of February. How long have three of the four trucks been out of service? Adding more equipment was supposed to have created a back-up plan to avoid the fiasco that happened on Nov. 10 and 11, when flights out of Minot were grounded because de-icing equipment didn’t work. But if the back-up plan relies solely on one vehicle, it’s not much of a back-up plan at all, which was proven Saturday when the one operational de-icing truck broke down, too.

Travelers realize that there can be weather-related delays when flying out of cold-weather locations in North Dakota, but delays caused by bad management are frustrating and certainly aren’t good for business. Minot International Airport, is a hectic place right now, and there’s a new terminal in the works. Let’s hope there’s a new commitment to having functional de-icing equipment, too.