Coastal Carolina Regional Airport diverts flights because of system malfunction

Coastal Carolina Regional Airport diverts flights because of system malfunction

CRAVEN COUNTY - The Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in Craven County had some technical issues over the weekend that prevented three flights from landing at the airport.

Airport officials say the Automated Surface Observation System, which is equipment that relays weather forecasting information to pilots, wasn't working properly over the weekend.

Federal law requires that pilots know weather information before landing a plane. When the system stopped working, pilots stopped getting weather forecasting information and were forced to land the planes at neighboring airports.

The three planes landed in Jacksonville and Raleigh.

The flights were operated by Delta and US Airways. These carriers assisted in helping displaced flyers get back to the New Bern area.

The director of the airport, Tom Braaten, says each of the diverted planes could hold up to 50 passengers-- meaning up to 150 people could have been displaced because of the system malfunction.

The airport apologizes for the inconvenience.

"We don't like to have anybody delayed or displaced in anyway," Braaten said.  "Sometimes things happen and it's all based on safety. So if the airlines say they have to have that information for the safety of my passengers, then I would never argue with that," Bratten said.

As of Monday afternoon, the problem disrupting the weather system was still being fixed. The system is operated by NOAA, and workers came out to fix it, but ended up needing more parts to correct the problem.

The airport hopes the system will be fixed soon. Until then, Braaten says they have workers inside the airport's control tower picking up the slack-- aviation workers inside the towers are relaying information about weather forecasting to pilots so there won't be any problems with incoming flights.

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