Airline operations are suspended at several airports sitting within Hurricane Idalia’s path.
Three Florida airports — Tampa International Airport, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and Tallahassee International Airport — remain closed Wednesday morning as Idalia, which made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane, creates a path of destruction as it heads toward Georgia. The storm has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane as of Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, 70% of Sarasota departure flights have been canceled along with 30% of Fort Myers, 60% of Jacksonville, and 10% of Orlando as of Wednesday morning, according to Kathleen Bangs, a spokesperson for the flight tracking website FlightAware.
Bangs noted that there was a ground stop for all departures into Miami International.
HURRICANE IDALIA: SOME FLORIDA AIRPORTS CLOSE, AIRLINES TAKE ACTION AS STATE BRACES FOR STORM
The storm made landfall early Wednesday morning in Florida’s Big Bend region, the area where the panhandle curves into the peninsula on the west coast. It brought with it a “catastrophic storm surge” and maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Damaging winds are already “spreading into southern Georgia,” the NHC said.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned travelers on X, formerly known as Twitter, to check with their airline before heading out.
Southwest Airlines said it has not restarted its operations at Tampa International Airport, where it remains the largest carrier.
HURRICANE IDALIA NEARING FLORIDA: HOW STATE THEME PARKS ARE HANDLING THE IMPENDING STORM
Southwest also said its operation at the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport has not restarted, either, due to its temporary closure.
“We have some cancellations at other airports in Idalia’s path,” Southwest added.
Meanwhile, American Airlines said its operations have been suspended at Tampa, Sarasota, Tallahassee and Gainesville airports, as well as in Savannah, Georgia.
The carrier said more than 160 of its flights were canceled across its entire system due to the hurricane as of 9:30 a.m. ET. However, it expects to have normal operations in Ft. Myers, Key West, Orlando and Daytona Beach.
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More than 1,300 flights in, out of and across the U.S. were delayed as of 10 a.m. ET, according to FlightAware. There were just over 900 cancelations, with 115 of those in and out of Atlanta, according to Bangs.
Bangs said passengers should expect “delays and cancellations at Atlanta through the day as Idalia hampers route availability to the south while the storm system moves across Georgia.”
To help, airlines have waived rebooking fees for passengers whose flights have been affected by the storm.