Hurricane Ian: Airlines cancel 2,000 US flights for Thursday

Since Tuesday, more than 5,000 flights through Friday have been cancelled across various airports, especially those in Florida



Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

By Reuters

Published: Thu 29 Sep 2022, 9:22 AM

Airlines cancelled almost 2,000 US flights for Thursday after hurricane Ian hit Florida's Gulf Coast with catastrophic force in one of the most powerful US storms in recent years.

The hurricane continues to cause significant disruptions to US air travel, especially in the southeast. Since Tuesday, airlines have cancelled more than 5,000 flights through Friday.

Airlines cancelled 2,163 flights on Wednesday, as a number of Florida airports temporarily halted operations — including those in Tampa, Orlando, Sarasota-Bradenton, Melbourne, Daytona Beach, Naples and St Petersburg/Clearwater.

Airline tracking website Flightaware said 1,935 flights for Thursday had been cancelled as well, and 738 Friday flights scrapped. Airlines cancelled 403 flights for Tuesday, ahead of the storm.

The Orlando airport said it expected to resume commercial operations sometime on Friday. The Tampa airport said it would be closed till at least Thursday.

On Tuesday, Walt Disney said it would close its Orlando theme parks on Wednesday and Thursday.

Florida is a major part of US aviation, and some carriers like JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines typically expect 40 per cent or more of their daily flights to touch a Florida airport.

Through Wednesday, JetBlue cancelled 25 per cent of its US flights, and 20 per cent of Thursday flights, while Southwest cancelled 13 per cent of Wednesday flights and 9 per cent for Thursday. Another 3,106 US flights were delayed on Wednesday.

Airlines also offered waivers for those impacted by the hurricane to rebook tickets without charge.

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