With Hurricane Irma approaching Florida, airlines are starting to cancel flights into and out of several of the state’s airports, including Sarasota Bradenton International.
American Airlines has canceled all flights at SRQ between noon Saturday and 11 a.m. Monday, and Elite Airways has canceled its Sunday flights.
JetBlue, Delta and Air Canada had yet to make announcements concerning weekend flights in and out of SRQ, an airport spokesman said Thursday.
More cancellations are expected Friday, Saturday and Sunday as the storm moves closer to a likely landfall in South Florida.
Meanwhile, Tampa International Airport said in a tweet Thursday that it would remain open through the hurricane.
Also, St. Pete-Clearwater International will close at 11 a.m. Friday until further notice. Officials asked those with flights scheduled to depart from or land at the Pinellas County airport to contact the airline for more information.
Operations are scheduled to cease at Orlando International Airport at 2 p.m. Saturday, with resumption of service depending on airport and roadway conditions and the ability of crew members to get to work.
Not surprisingly, most of the cancellations announced Thursday occurred at South Florida airports, leaving those hoping to evacuate the storm’s path scrambling to make other plans.
American canceled 85 flights for Thursday, 475 for Friday, 740 for Saturday, 760 for Sunday and 125 for Monday out of airports in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Fort Myers, along with this disclaimer: “These numbers will change as the storm continues to move toward the continental United States.”
United Airlines is expected to cancel most flights to and from the southern part of Florida from Saturday through Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Key West International Airport was to suspend commercial operations at the end of the day Thursday, and officials at Miami International advised travelers it will halt operations when winds reach 55 mph.
Also Thursday, Delta Air Lines announced that it had added an additional 2,000 seats in regions that were expected to be affected by the hurricane. The airline added approximately 400 seats in Miami, 1,110 in Fort Lauderdale, 210 in Orlando and 110 at Sarasota-Bradenton, according to a statement from the airline.
On Wednesday, a Delta flight made headlines after making a three-hour trip from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico, as Irma’s outer bands were closing in on the island nation. The Washington Port reported that the crew pulled into the gate, deplaned and boarded a plane full of passengers in less than an hour before making the return trip to New York.