REDMOND, Ore. - It's not all that unusual during the winter for fog to cause some flight delays or cancellations at Redmond Airport, but Saturday night was a bit different story, as fog in Portland caused several planes to be diverted to Redmond instead, making for an unusually busy night at RDM.
At least five flights headed to Portland were diverted to Redmond. What's more, a United A320 Airbus flight from Chicago to Portland also was diverted to Redmond, not due to fog but mechanical problems, officials said.
"Everyone was remarking on how wonderful it was to see this many planes -- and a really big one too," said Nicole Jurgensen, airport security coordinator, said Sunday.
Several flights into and out of Roberts Field (RDM) were canceled or delayed due to the Portland fog. You can track the latest flight status at http://www.flyrdm.com/?Flight-Status .
Rental cars were depleted at RDM because of people who chose to drive to Portland Saturday night. One reason may be that many Redmond hotels were booked with people in town for a major wrestling tournament.
United sent another Airbus A320 -- a family of planes that can carry up to 220 passengers -- to Redmond on an emergency basis to pick up the delayed passengers, who left around 1 a.m. Sunday to complete their journey to Portland.
"Then the rescue aircraft, the Airbus A320 came in, and we actually had to park that on the taxiway to load the passengers and get them back out," said Jurgensen, adding, "At least it wasn't snowing."
The Airbus diverted to Redmond finally took off with no passengers Sunday morning, headed to San Francisco instead.
Jurgensen said one of the unexpected visitors had remarked RDM was the cleanest airport he'd ever seen.
Airlines worked with the other diverted passengers to make arrangements to complete their flights on Sunday.