HALIFAX – The Halifax Stanfield International Airport resembled a ghost town on Tuesday as a blizzard made its way through the region.
Airport spokesperson Peter Spurway said only a handful of flights made it into and out of Halifax early Tuesday before the runway was shut down.
“I was happy to see the folks off to Cuba this morning and there was a planeload heading to Orlando. I’m sure they were happy to get out,” he said.
Keep calm and bundle up: Is it time to stop being surprised by winter weather?
READ MORE: Blast of winter weather brings snow, high winds to Maritimes
The normally bustling airport was almost at a standstill as dozens of flights were delayed or cancelled. However, some travelers temporarily called the airport home as they tried to beat the blizzard.
Kevin and Debbie Nicholson from Moncton arrived in Halifax Monday night in advance of their flight to Cancun, Mexico on Wednesday morning.
“We knew there was going to be a storm so we didn’t think we were going to be able to travel Tuesday,” Kevin said.
The couple chose to sleep and stay at the airport for 36 hours ahead of their flight.
“We go up to the observatory and the way they have their chairs set up, it’s quite easy to lay down so we crashed there. When our flight’s ready to go, we’re ready to go.”
“I brought a book, a blanket, a pillow,” said wife Debbie. “But we are going to Mexico so that’s all that matters.”
The Nicholsons were not the only people thinking ahead. Kevin Purchase, his wife, his four-year-old daughter and newborn child also arrived at the airport Monday night. The family does not leave for Florida until Wednesday.
“There’s nothing worse than driving in a snow storm trying to make a flight,” Purchase said.
“We thought we would play it safe…just to make sure everything will be alright and we can get out.”
But there were some frustrations for business travelers, like Claire Detheridge and George MacDonald from Sydney.
The pair were supposed to be in Ottawa Tuesday night for business meetings but their flights have been delayed multiple times.
“These plans have been made for weeks. We had some meetings with some federal ministers. It’s disappointing because they may not happen,” Detheridge said.
“It’s frustrating because we have a tight time frame. If we don’t get there by tomorrow then the whole trip is wasted. Either we get there by Wednesday morning or [we] turn around and go home.
“We’re in a grey area because right now we don’t have a play to stay. We’ve checked out of our hotel and now we’re just trying to get back into our hotel.”
But there was some excitement at the airport for travelers hoping to head to the Dominican Republic and away from the cold weather.
“It’s meant to be for us to be away in warm weather now that it’s the first big storm,” said Amy Grant from Liverpool, N.S.
“We know we’ll get there sooner or later.”
Spurway said four snow crews are working around the clock to keep the runways free of snow.
“Our folks are out there in the machinery just trying to keep the air field as clean as we possibly can so when the weather does shift and we are in a position to accept flights again that we can do that as quickly as possible.”
Spurway said airport operations should be back to normal by late Wednesday.