Airlines cancel over 2,000 US flights due to Hurricane Ian, some Florida airports halt operations – ET TravelWorld

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Airlines cancelled over 2,000 US flights on September 27 and 28 and some Florida airports halted operations as they braced for impact from Hurricane Ian, which was set to make landfall in the state.Airlines had scrapped 367 flights on September 27 and 1,748 on September 28 across the United States, according to flight-tracking website Flightaware.com.

About 1,800 flights within, into or out of the United States were delayed on September 27, Flightaware.com data showed.

Hurricane Ian entered the US Gulf of Mexico on September 27 and is forecast to become a dangerous category 4 storm over the warm waters of the Gulf, according to National Hurricane Center forecaster Eric Blake.

It is expected to bring hurricane-force winds of up to 130 mph (209 kph) and as much as 2 feet (0.6 meter) of rain to the Tampa area starting early on September 28 through September 29 evening.

Both Tampa and St Pete-Clearwater airports in southwest Florida halted operations on September 27, while the Sarasota Bradenton Airport will suspend operations at 8 pm (0000 GMT) and Orlando Airport will cease operations at 10:30 am on September 28.

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US-based carriers scrapped 128,934 flights from January to July, up about 11% from pre-pandemic levels, according to data from flight-tracking website FlightAware. Flight delays have also reached nearly a million this year. American Airlines Group Inc canceled 19,717 flights, the most among big U.S. carriers, followed by Southwest Airlines Co at 17,381 flights. Delta Air Lines Inc reported the least cancellations at roughly 10,000 flights.

Walt Disney said on September 27, it would close its Orlando theme parks on September 28 and 29.Even Florida airports not closing were experiencing major impacts. Airlines cancelled about 40 per cent of flights at Miami International Airport on September 28.

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

Through September 27 afternoon, JetBlue has cancelled 24 per cent of its US flights on September 28, while Southwest has cancelled 9 per cent.

Southwest suspended operations on September 27 in Havana, Cuba, and is suspending operations at some Florida airports. The Federal Aviation Administration said it was “closely monitoring” Hurricane Ian and its path.

Major US carriers also halted some operations. American Airlines issued a travel alert for 20 airports in the western Caribbean and Florida waiving change fees for tickets booked by Sepember 23.

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