Airlines Cancel Thousands of Flights as Hurricane Ian, Close to Category 5 Strength, Bears Down on Florida

By Kurt Stolz on 28 September 2022
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Magic Castle at Walt Disney World

As Hurricane Ian bears down on Florida’s Gulf Coast, airlines cancelled thousands of flights, multiple airports suspended operations, and some hotels suspended new check-ins.

As of 6 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the National Hurricane Center reported that the storm’s maximum sustained winds had increased to 155 mph, just under the Category 5 threshold.  The storm was 65 miles (105 kilometers) west-southwest of Naples moving north-northeast at 9 mph (15 km/h).

By 10:25 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the number of flight cancellations in the period Tuesday through Thursday was over 4,000, according to Flightaware.com, which tracks such data.

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and JetBlue Airways had the most flight cancellations, with 482, 434, and 224, respectively.

Among the airport closures are Orlando International Airport, which closed at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday; Melbourne Orlando International Airport, which will close Wednesday at 2 p.m.; Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, which closed Tuesday night; St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, which closed Tuesday afternoon; and Tampa International Airport, which closed Tuesday evening.

“Our goal is to resume normal operations as quickly as possible once conditions are safe following Hurricane Ian,” Melbourne Orlando Airport said in a tweet.

The four top airports in the world with flight cancellations are in Florida, namely Orlando International with 75% of flights cancelled, Miami International with 45%, Tampa International with 95%, and Fort Lauderdale International with 34%.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport officials said that the airport remains operational as they monitor the hurricane, and Miami International Airport also remains open although it said in a tweet that flight cancellations are expected.

Finally, Walt Disney World closed all four theme parks.  Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom won’t reopen until after the storm passes Orlando, Disney said in a statement.  In addition, Walt Disney World hotels said they will not be accepting new guest check-ins.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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