FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Flights in South Florida and around the world were cancelled because of Superstorm Sandy’s impact in the Northeast.
As a result, dozens of planes were grounded in South Florida with no place to go.
Right now, aircraft from Southwest, Jet Blue, Spirit, Delta, United and others are being stored at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Airport workers said at least 35 planes are currently parked at the terminals which is a record number for FLL.
Hurricane Sandy forced the closure of New York’s JFK and LaGuardia airports and Newark in New Jersey “until further notice” as rising flood waters washed across parts of the city, while domestic and international flights were canceled at other major airports in the region.
In all, Sandy grounded more than 15,000 flights across the Northeast and the globe, and it could be days before some stranded passengers can get where they’re going.
At FLL, there have been 88 arrival cancellations and 86 departure cancellations for a total of 174 for the day.
At MIA, there have been 57 arrival cancellations and 46 departure cancellations for a total of 103 for the day.
Affected cities are Washington, D.C., New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Newark, Detroit, Hartford, Toronto, Norfolk, Cleveland, and Richmond.
According to the flight-tracking service FlightAware, more than 6,000 flights nationwide were cancelled on Tuesday. By early Tuesday morning, more than 500 flights scheduled for Wednesday also were cancelled.
The three big New York airports were closed on Tuesday by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Stewart International Airport remained open, but airlines had suspended operations there.
New York has the nation’s busiest airspace, with about one-quarter of all U.S. flights traveling to or from there each day. So cancellations here can dramatically impact travel in other cities.
The flight cancellations surpassed those of a major winter storm in early 2011 that forced 14,000 flights to be scrapped over four days.
Even if storm damage is minor it could be a week before operations are normal at major East Coast airports, said Angela Gittens, director general of the Airports Council International, a trade group for airports worldwide.
“The storm has such a wide swath and so many major airports are involved that it’s going to take some time (to recover) because those airplanes are so far away,” said Gittens, who served as aviation director at Miami International Airport Dade during several hurricanes from 2001 to 2004.
JetBlue Airways Corp. canceled 1,200 flights for Sunday through Tuesday. The airline is hoping to resume flights at its Kennedy airport hub Wednesday, but is worried about flooding of the airport’s runways since they are all basically at sea level and near bodies of water, according to Rob Maruster, the company’s chief operating officer.
Delta Air Lines Inc. has canceled 2,100 flights over the three days. American Airlines has scrapped 1,000 flights, including 260 on regional affiliate American Eagle.
The impact on airline’s bottom lines is unclear. Many of the customers on flights currently being canceled will reschedule later on, so the airlines will still collect the fares.
Travelers overseas could wait days to get to the East Coast of the U.S.
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