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Airports Announcing Closure Due To Storm

Airports Announcing Closure Due To Storm

Old Sep 2, 19, 9:10 am
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Airports Announcing Closure Due To Storm

Do airports announce closures unnecessarily soon?

Example: Friday evening Orlando Int'l (MCO) announced closure effective 2AM Sunday due to Hurricane Dorian. They later rescinded the closure on Sunday morning. As of Monday morning the hurricane was still a day away and airport operations were normal except for whatever flights were cancelled by individual airlines..

Of course more passengers scrambled to rebook flights compared with not having an airport closure announced that soon. After all, if the airport was going to be closed then one would immediately conclude that all flights (here, on Monday) would be cancelled.

Or should both airlines and passengers feel free to wait awhile before cancelling flights and rebooking reservations, respectively?
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Old Sep 2, 19, 9:47 am
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What exactly do you mean by "unnecessarily?"

I regard MCO's decision to close and then reopen as quite prudent. Airports are not simply valueless blobs and, in major weather systems, there is much that can be done to protect the physical plant. When the physical plant is properly protected, the airport is then able to open to commercial traffic all the sooner.

Hindsight is 20-20.
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Old Sep 4, 19, 8:59 am
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Could they have made the preparations for the storm without preemptively announcing a full airport closure so far in advance?

Usually airlines try to handle it with travel alerts - giving passengers a free opportunity to change plans or reroute connections away from storms.

I don't know what the right answer is, but I too thought it was unusual that MCO announced a full closure at a point in time when no one really knew when or if they'd actually get hit by the storm.
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Old Sep 4, 19, 9:18 am
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You can see airport closures on this page. https://www.fly.faa.gov/ois/
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Old Sep 4, 19, 10:04 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
What exactly do you mean by "unnecessarily?"
I dare say that announcing airport closures 5 days ago was 90% driven by unjustified hype.
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Old Sep 4, 19, 1:34 pm
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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Do airports announce closures unnecessarily soon?

Example: Friday evening Orlando Int'l (MCO) announced closure effective 2AM Sunday due to Hurricane Dorian. They later rescinded the closure on Sunday morning. As of Monday morning the hurricane was still a day away and airport operations were normal except for whatever flights were cancelled by individual airlines..

Of course more passengers scrambled to rebook flights compared with not having an airport closure announced that soon. After all, if the airport was going to be closed then one would immediately conclude that all flights (here, on Monday) would be cancelled.

Or should both airlines and passengers feel free to wait awhile before cancelling flights and rebooking reservations, respectively?
Let's discount Dorian for the moment (it was a moving target.... few people expected it to move so slowly Saturday...)...

That said, the question is, do you really want thousands of people milling around should the storm change and stomp on the airport? Warning away a day or two ahead is a prudent way to give people sufficient time to safely get away. If the airport can get a few ferries away as well, sure, do it, but I'd rather have a two-day head start to get away from a potential hurricane (especially a CAT 5). Remember you're looking at roughly 21 million people to move out of the area. You don't know how many are going to shelter-in-place and how many are going to find shelter elsewhere. I've never been to MCO.I don't know if the roof is primarily glass or open concept or whatever so I can't say how well it would weather a hurricane of any size. Give everyone sufficient time to get away. A ticket can be re-scheduled, a person getting hit by debris is probably not a good thing.
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Old Sep 8, 19, 1:48 am
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Originally Posted by StuckInYYZ View Post
That said, the question is, do you really want thousands of people milling around should the storm change and stomp on the airport? Warning away a day or two ahead is a prudent way to give people sufficient time to safely get away. If the airport can get a few ferries away as well, sure, do it, but I'd rather have a two-day head start to get away from a potential hurricane (especially a CAT 5).
Precisely.

I live in a mandatory evacuation zone. I also don't own a car. Back in 2017, I was scheduled on the last American Airlines flight leaving Fort Lauderdale (FLL) as Hurricane Irma was approaching. The night prior to that flight, my Spidey sense (gained from living through the 2005 and being without power for over 3 weeks) told me that the flight wasn't going to happen because the winds were arriving sooner than forecasted. So, I rented a car and started driving in the middle of the night.

That ended up being a good decision, as American canceled the flight. I would have had to move into a shelter.

Had the Broward County officials that run FLL done what Orlando (MCO) did this time and announced a pre-emptive closure, I wouldn't have had to scramble at the last minute. From my perspective, the way MCO handled this storm was the best way to handle a wildly unpredictable situation.
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Old Sep 8, 19, 2:34 am
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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Do airports announce closures unnecessarily soon?
My answer is no. At the minimum, it is easier to make alternative arrangements elsewhere than in the airport.

IME with Hurricane Sandy, I know well in advance that I would not make the trip way in advance. When the hurricane has caused massive damages, at least what I had suffered was just inconvenience.
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