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Airlines Scrap Over 1,200 US Flights As Hurricane Ian Set To Make Landfall

By Dave Simpson

Airlines cancelled over a thousand US flights on Tuesday 27 September and Wednesday 29 September and several Florida airports are halting operations as they braced for impact from Hurricane Ian, which was set to make landfall in the state.

Details

Airlines had scrapped 321 flights on Tuesday 27 September and 1,148 on Wednesday 28 September across the US, according to flight-tracking website Flightaware.com.

About 1,400 flights within, into, or out of the United States were delayed as of Tuesday 27 September, Flightaware.com data showed.

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Hurricane Ian entered the US Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday 27 September 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 Wednesday 28 September through Thursday 29 September evening.

St. Pete-Clearwater Airport halted operations at 1 p.m. ET Tuesday 27 September, while Tampa Airport will halt operations at 5 p.m. and Orlando International Airport will cease operations at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday 28 September.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it was "closely monitoring" Hurricane Ian and its path.

Major US carriers also halted some operations.

"We've suspended operations today in Havana, Cuba, and will suspend operations beginning this evening in Tampa, Sarasota, and Fort Myers through Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022," Southwest Airlines Co said in a statement.

American Airlines Group Inc said it has issued a travel alert for 20 airports in the western Caribbean and Florida.

Disney To Shutter Florida Theme Parks As Hurricane Ian Draws Near

The above news was followed by news that Walt Disney Co will close its theme and water parks on Wednesday 28 September and Thursday 29 September as Hurricane Ian nears the coast of Florida, the company said on Tuesday 27 September.

Residents of Florida's Gulf Coast headed for higher ground as the hurricane threatens to bring a deadly storm surge and more than a foot of rain to some areas.

The attractions that will be closed on Wednesday 28 September and Thursday 29 September include Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Magic Kingdom, a spokesperson said.

Walt Disney had earlier said that some of its hotels in the region would be closed through Friday 30 September.

Comcast Corp's Universal Resort and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc also announced the closure of their theme parks on Wednesday 28 September and Thursday 29 September.

Other companies, including several US airlines and food delivery firm Doordash Inc, also suspended operations across large parts of the state on Tuesday 27 September.

About 2.5 million Florida residents were under evacuation orders or warnings and the sprawling storm is forecast to become a dangerous category 4 storm over the warm waters of the Gulf, according to National Hurricane Center forecaster Eric Blake.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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