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Airport director not worried about local weather system, says storms in other areas could delay flights

Albert Ellis airport.jpg
(Photo: Albert J. Ellis Airport)
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Albert J. Ellis Airport Director Chris White said holiday travelers are already streaming in and out of the airport in Jacksonville, even though a national shortage of pilots is impacting eastern North Carolina and the rest of the nation.

“We believe traffic will be very close to pre-pandemic levels.”

Albert J. Ellis Airport Director Chris White said holiday travelers are already streaming in and out of the airport in Jacksonville, even though a national shortage of pilots is impacting eastern North Carolina and the rest of the nation.

“We may have a little less capacity at some of the eastern North Carolina airports, including Ellis Airport, due to the shortage of pilots,” he said, “But we expect to see full airplanes and lot of happy people moving through the terminals.”

White isn’t worried about the weather in ENC because the predicted storm is expected to be a rain and wind event, without ice or snow, but with a massive winter storm expected to impact some parts of the country Christmas weekend he cautions travelers to be patient in the event of any flight delays.

“We do have concerns about the weather -- not so much locally because it’s expected to be mostly rain, a little bit of wind toward the end of the week, so it may be a bumpy ride on some of the flights -- but most of the frozen precip is expected to remain north of us,” he said.

Because some local flights may originate from or be headed to areas impacted by the storm to the north, White said delays and cancellations are possible and he suggests all travelers call their airline before leaving home for the airport.

“Aviation is a system,” he explained, “So, that airplane starts its day somewhere and makes its way to here and then makes its way to somewhere else. So, anywhere along that path, bad weather can interrupt that aircraft’s travel and therefore can interrupt anyone’s travel plans.”

He also asks travelers to be patient and behave, "with grace."