(CNN) — Airlines, airports, and the federal government prepared their aviation infrastructure for Hurricane Ian on Wednesday. As the enormous storm blasted ashore, cancellations and closures accumulated over the Florida peninsula. As a major hurricane, the storm made landfall on Florida’s west coast at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Operations at Tampa International Airport ceased at 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday after officials there made preparations for a significant impact before the hurricane made landfall further south. There won’t be any leaving flights through Thursday, according to the Tampa airport.
The airport tweeted on Wednesday, “We will disclose a reopening date and time when it is established.”
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450 flights per day are normally handled by the airport. According to a message on the airport’s website, Miami International Airport on Florida’s east coast was still operating as of 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, even though some flights had been postponed or canceled.
At 10:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, operations at Orlando International Airport were suspended. On a daily basis, the airport attracts close to 130,000 people, according to its website. According to a confirmed tweet from the airport, the terminal at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport closed at 1 p.m.
Tuesday “due to mandatory evacuation orders from Pinellas County and remain closed until the evacuation order is lifted.” Tuesday evening at 8 o’clock, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport closed. According to the airport’s website, Key West International Airport is scheduled to reopen on Thursday at 7 a.m. According to Director Richard Strickland’s Facebook post, airport staff members will continue to work all night to get the airport ready to reopen.
Florida airports lead in US cancellations
FlightAware data revealed 2,160 US flight cancellations and just over 3,000 countrywide delays as of 8 p.m. on Wednesday. On Thursday, over 2,000 flights had already been canceled.
The top four American airport difficulty spots were Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale. With cancellations already being reported in Atlanta and Charlotte, effects might spread throughout the Southeast of the United States.
Airlines Canceling Flights
By 8 p.m. on Wednesday, American Airlines, which has approximately 250 daily departures from Miami, its fourth-largest hub, had canceled about 500 flights, both mainline and regional. American passengers can rebook flights with no change fees through 20 airports in the hurricane’s path. To aid those who are attempting to “evacuate through the air,” the airline has also given “reduced, last-minute tickets for cities that would be impacted.”
Due to Hurricane Ian’s projected route, American is eliminating change fees for passengers flying to and from Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. For flights to and from Florida, the airline has already waived change fees. In preparation for Hurricane Ian’s route, once it makes landfall in Florida, United Airlines began to suspend operations along the Atlantic Coast of that state.
By Wednesday afternoon, United says it will stop departing from the airports in West Palm Beach, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale. As of Thursday, United will no longer operate out of Jacksonville. In order to assist passengers who were fleeing the storm’s path, United said on Wednesday that it has proactively canceled 345 flights since Tuesday, exchanging some outbound flights with larger aircraft.
At the airports in Sarasota and Fort Myers, United and Southwest Airlines have also ceased operations. Additionally, United canceled some flights out of Orlando and all flights to and from Key West on Tuesday and Wednesday “to reduce crew layovers.” FlightAware data shows that by 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Southwest Airlines had canceled 525 US flights. And well over 200 flights had been canceled by Delta Air Lines.
FAA Closely Monitoring Lan
In order to facilitate disaster relief activities after a hurricane passes, we set up and secure air traffic control facilities and equipment in the predicted storm route before any storm ever forms.
Moving Aircraft To Safer Places
Many airlines are relocating aircraft away from the storm’s path and warn that it will take some time to resume regular operation. When and where it is safe to resume flights must first be determined by authorities and the airlines, and crews must then be available.
According to Delta spokeswoman Morgan Durrant, “Our in-house weather forecasting is a powerful tool to aid with operational decision-making, but equally essential are the conditions of ground infrastructure after the storm passes.”
Riding Out The Storm In Tampa
120 airport workers at Tampa International Airport have volunteered to stay on-site and weather the storm, according to airport executive John Tiliacos, who made the announcement on Tuesday. Tradespeople from the crew, such as electricians and plumbers, will be crucial to resuming operations at the airport.
“Our team will undertake a damage assessment of our airfield and terminal facilities once the storm has gone and determine if we can reopen immediately or if we have concerns that we need to fix as a result of the hurricane effect,” Tiliacos added.
He said that the runways might reopen to necessary flights before the passenger terminal does. The airstrip could experience flooding from the neighboring bay even though the infrastructure is designed for a Category 4 storm.