Major airports in the Southeast US avoided catastrophic damage from the powerful storm with most reopening by Tuesday, but airlines are still struggling to return to full schedule after canceling hundreds of flights.
As Hurricane Irma lost steam and pushed north across Alabama and Tennessee as a low pressure system, airports where the brunt of the storm was felt slowly started to reopen on Tuesday. Airlines are still struggling to return equipment to the region, however, and passengers could remain stranded at some destinations in Florida and the Caribbean for days to come.
CNN reports that Miami International Airport (MIA) reopened to air traffic on Tuesday after closing prior to Irma’s approach. The airport expects just over 30 percent of the scheduled flights to operate by this evening. Tampa International Airport (TPA), likewise, was open for business on Tuesday, but nearly 70 percent of the airport’s scheduled flights were canceled. Officials say that Orlando International Airport (MCO), however, which suffered some damage during the storm, will resume with only limited service until Wednesday at the earliest.
Meanwhile, Fort Meyers Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) was still without power as of Tuesday morning. Officials at Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) expect to be operating on a regular schedule by Wednesday morning, while Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) was open to commercial flights by just after midnight.
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), the world’s busiest airport, managed to remain open throughout much of the storm, but hundreds of flights were canceled. Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) remained open Monday, but only a single flight departed.
As operations begin to return to normal, passengers who took advantage of offers to rebook flights without surcharge will likely fare better than those who waited until flights were canceled to be automatically rebooked on later itineraries as many routes were quickly oversold. According to The Independent, hundreds of Europe-bound travelers remain stuck at MIA. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic say they won’t resume transatlantic flights until Tuesday evening at the earliest.