Plane on Runway Ties Up Albany Airport

COLONIE - A Southwest Airlines plane landing during snowfall had to be towed to Albany International Airport terminal late Friday, delaying six flights as the airport closed briefly.

No injuries were reported aboard the Boeing 737, which took off from Baltimore and landed about 7:55 p.m., officials said, adding that weather was a factor.

Airport spokesman Doug Myers said once the plane landed, the pilot was directed toward a far taxi way, close to the end of the runway. But he could not make the turn and stopped the jet while still on the runway. He did not say if snow played a part in the pilot's decision.

Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Edna Ruano said the pilot could not get traction. As a precaution, he decided to stop and request a tow, she said. She added that the airline will investigate.

Under fair weather conditions, the airport would have had a second runway planes could use. Because of the snow, the airport was only keeping one runway open, Myers said.

Passengers were kept on the plane for about an hour. They said they were not nervous, as the plane touched down safely and had slowed to a taxi speed before stopping. They were allowed to use the restroom, but weren't offered any more peanuts.

Looking out the airplane window, Arthi Kundu, traveling with her mother-in-law from Maryland, said she believed the plane came to a stop on snow.

Arba Williamson attends college in Virginia and came to visit his sister, who is a student at Williams College.

"It was a little bit scary when we landed because there was so much snow," he said, adding quickly that there really was no problem touching down.

It just proved to be a far longer wait than he expected.

"They thought it would take 10 minutes," he said.

Instead, after an hour sitting on the tarmac, he had at least another hour in the car to western Massachusetts with his sister - and that's the drive time in good weather.

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