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Flurry of local flights canceled

BY DAVID ZOELLER dzoeller@paducahsun.com

Eight flights between Paducah's Barkley Regional Airport and Chicago's O'Hare Airport were canceled over the past four days ­- half of all flights scheduled - mostly due to unspecified crew issues.

SkyWest Airlines, headquartered  in St. George, Utah, contracts with United Airlines to provide two daily Paducah-to-Chicago flights and two Chicago-to-Paducah flights. 

According to Barkley Regional Airport Manager Richard Roof, three flights were canceled Friday, one was canceled Saturday, three were canceled Sunday and one on Monday.

Roof said he could not recall having that many flights canceled in such a concentrated time due to issues with the crew.

According to Wes Horrocks, SkyWest spokesman, the first cancellation Friday was due to "big issues with weather in Chicago," and the remaining flights were canceled due to unidentified issues with the crew.

Horrocks said he could not pinpoint the crew issues because they could be related to a number of "down-line factors." Weather could still be a cause, he said, if a crew scheduled to be on the Chicago-to-Paducah flight was delayed by weather on an earlier flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration did change some of the regulations regarding the "pilot rest rule" in recent months. But Horrocks said, "To my knowledge, that was not a factor in this situation."

The number of passengers the cancellations affected is not known at this time, Horrocks said.

"You hate to see it happen to any passengers," Horrocks said. "Our focus is always on providing our passengers the best experience possible."

Any time there are cancellations, the airline tries to book passengers on the next available flight, he said.

The airline does not cancel flights based on the number of passengers booked in any particular flight, according to Horrocks.

"More than anything, we appreciate the good relations we have with Paducah and providing these flights," Horrocks said.

Passengers who need alternative flights to Chicago often try flying out of Nashville, Tenn., though they might encounter other problems if making connections. 

Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.

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