Hurricane Irma Causes Airline Issues in the Caribbean and South Florida

American Airlines 2

"I was traveling to, today, to Argentina, and they don't have any flights", said traveler Florencia Bycanchi. "The main runway appears to be in acceptable shape and the airfield has drained nicely".

American Airlines Group Inc., (AAL) which operates Charlotte and Miami hubs, said almost all its Florida operations will remain shut down on Monday, except for Destin/Fort Walton Beach in the Florida panhandle.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Columbia Metropolitan Airport and Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

About 50 passengers who were unable to leave South Florida prior Hurricane Irma stayed at the airport as the storm passed. JetBlue Airways and American Airlines have been capping economy one-way flights out of the state at $99, ahead of the mass of flight cancellations expected this weekend.

According to meteorologists, Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall on Saturday night bringing with it gusts of winds with speeds of up to 127 miles per hour. Tuesday's early flight - an outbound that has been scheduled for 5:30 a.m. - also has been canceled.

Officials in Orlando said the airport remains closed on Monday and it was still unclear when it would reopen to commercial flights.

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Officials said some airlines were flying workers into MIA Monday in preparation for flights to resume.

Monday afternoon, the airport remained nearly entirely empty except for a few hundred staff, as well as customers with nowhere else to go.

Similarly, there are nine arriving flights from either Miami or Fort Lauderdale that have been canceled at JAX through Saturday. Forecasters say tropical force winds will then descend on Georgia late Monday, possibly reaching into the Atlanta area - which will likely impact Delta flights to and from Atlanta, the carrier said.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the massive number of outgoing flights caused a traffic jam at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

"We are in regular contact with all our airport partners in the area about the impact this will have on our customers planning to travel to and from the region", added BA.

Due to the storm, American Airlines has issued a travel alert for more than 40 airports. All of Southwest's Atlanta flights after 1 p.m. have been grounded Monday, but the airline hoped "to resume normal operations by Tuesday" at those airports.

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