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Shortage Of Ice Remover A Major Culprit In Cancelled Charlotte Flights

Hundreds of flights in and out of Charlotte were cancelled yesterday, due largely to a shortage of fluid needed to de-ice planes. US Airways suspended the majority of its operations, but other airlines maintained at least limited operations. Now Charlotte airport and US Airways officials are trying to figure out what went wrong. US Airways passengers expressed frustration Tuesday that so many of their flights were grounded while other airlines seemed to still be getting planes out of Charlotte. US Airways said it didn't have enough de-icing fluid. So why did other airlines fare better? One reason may be that those other airlines handle their own plane deicing, but US Airways recently signed a deal to have the Charlotte airport de-ice its planes. "This is the first significant ice storm that this (agreement) has been in place," says Charlotte airport spokeswoman Haley Gentry. Gentry says the airport quickly realized Monday night that its supply of deicing fluid wouldn't suffice. Planes were so iced-over, Gentry says some were requiring three-times the usual amount of de-icing fluid. "We started off with our tanks full, and you know, this may require us to change what we have on hand and look at some of our processes," says Gentry. "We're certainly doing that with the airlines as we move through this event." US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher says a shortage of deicing fluid wasn't the only reason the airline cancelled so many flights in Charlotte on Tuesday, but he says it was a major one. Lehmacher adds US Airways has yet to determine whether it will seek compensation from the Charlotte airport for revenues lost as a result of the deicing fluid shortage.