Joint Base Charleston and Charleston International Airport are setting up a task force to beef up their emergency response plan after an icy winter storm shut down their shared runways for nearly four days earlier this month.
The group will meet for the first time Tuesday to provide recommendations to the base commander and airport CEO.
"After the recent extreme weather, both agencies realized the need to establish the task force charged with reviewing current procedures in an effort to incorporate any lessons learned to emergency plans for future weather-related events," the Air Force said in a written statement Thursday.
Joint Base Charleston owns and maintains the two runways, which Boeing Co also uses.
"The task force will identify opportunities to alleviate impacts to civil aircraft operations during inclement weather," according to a statement.
It also said that continued collaboration between the base and the state's busiest airport "will provide better response procedures to future weather incidents."
Joint Base Charleston said it will release more information after military and airport officials review the recommendations
The two runways were closed for nearly four days following the Jan. 3 winter storm that dumped more than 5 inches of snow, leaving icy tarmacs and other surfaces. Thousands of passengers were stranded.
Correspondence between the Charleston International, the Air Force and Boeing obtained by The Post and Courier through the Freedom of Information Act, shows the planemaker, which assembles its 787 Dreamliner at the airport, asked officials for an action plan before the next bout of inclement weather threatens the Lowcountry.
The aerospace giant's South Carolina plant relies on the runways to test and deliver planes and to receive critical Dreamliner components that are transported to the site on special 747 cargo jets.
"We would like to do a meeting in the coming weeks with all of us and the Air Force to figure out a plan for any future weather issues," a Boeing official said in a Jan. 8 email to airport leaders.
One of the runways reopened at noon Jan. 6, but none of the airlines serving the airport chose to resume flights until the next day. The other reopened at 2:20 p.m. Jan. 7, according to airport officials.
The storm and its aftermath caused airlines to cancel more than 400 flights and affect about 30,000 passengers, who scrambled to find rental cars or change reservations to nearby airports.