US airlines cancel over 1,000 flights as Hurricane Idalia makes Florida landfall

Aug 30 (Reuters) – Airlines in the United States canceled more than 1,000 flights on Wednesday as Hurricane Idalia slammed into the Big Bend region of Florida, but the storm’s power ebbed as it headed toward Georgia.

Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) canceled more than 220 flights, while Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) canceled 157 flights, as of 12 p.m. ET, according to flight-tracking website Flightaware.com.

About 2,000 flights were also delayed.

Airports at Tampa, Clearwater and Tallahassee shut down operations and were monitoring the status of the storm.

Drawing strength from the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters, Idalia unleashed destructive winds and torrential downpours that were forecast to cause coastal flooding up to 16 feet (5 m) deep along the state’s Gulf Coast.

Idalia grew from a tropical storm into a hurricane early on Tuesday, a day after passing west of Cuba, where it damaged homes, knocked out power, flooded villages and prompted mass evacuations.

“With Tampa Airport closing at midnight Tuesday, we canceled everything there through at least afternoon today and we’re awaiting a decision from the airport as to when it will re-open to commercial service,” Southwest Airlines said on Wednesday.

The airline also ceased operations for the day at Jacksonville International Airport.

American Airlines (AAL.O) said it had suspended operations at multiple airports in Florida including Tampa, Sarasota and Tallahassee, and canceled 167 flights as of Wednesday morning.

Reporting by Shivansh Tiwary and Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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