There will be a flurry of activity at the airport in Goose Bay Friday as one runway will be opened for a four-hour window after more than two days of a near complete shutdown.
The runway will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to allow some flights to take off and land, however crews are still working to clear the airfield of problematic crack sealant that caused the shutdown after snowclearing crews found it stuck to their tires on Tuesday.
According to Lt. Trevor Ackland of 5 Wing Goose Bay, it's going to be a "a while" before the airport is up and running at full capacity, as experts who were brought in to address the sealant issue are still experimenting with different techniques to come up with a long-term remedy.
"They believe they have found a solution," he said. "So now we're moving forward with grinding on the runway and continuing to get rid of what we can get rid of."
Aircraft that land at the airport will need something that air traffic controllers call "prior permission required." That means the planes will need to be cleared to land in Goose Bay before they take off at their departing location.
Ackland said the experts and crews that are working to clear the sealant will refocus to other sections of the airfield during the four-hour window that the one runway will be open, and that making the runways safe is still their top priority.
Pal Airlines adds flights
Airlines with scheduled flights in and out of Goose Bay are adding more flights during the four-hour period to move as many passengers as possible.
PAL Airlines has four flights between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., three that were already scheduled and one more that was added once the decision was made to open the one runway.
On Thursday, PAL had been busing people several hours away to Churchill Falls for rescheduled flights, but that won't be happening Friday due to the open runway.
Air Borealis, which has been completely grounded since the airport closure began, will have a total of six flights operating during the four-hour window. Two were previously scheduled and four were added in the last 24 hours.
Stephen Dinn, vice president of business development with PAL Airlines, said people should show up at least two hours before their flight, due to the frantic nature of the short window and the fact that once people check in at the terminal they have to be bused to the aircraft which will be on the opposite side of the airfield.
"It will be busy and we want people to show up early so we can get people processed quickly," he said.