Travel chaos looms as US storm cancels flights
NEW YORK – A day of transatlantic travel chaos loomed Sunday as airlines cancelled thousands of flights to and from airports up and down the US East Coast ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.
Air France, British Airways, Virgin and other European airlines cancelled all flights into New York, Baltimore, Washington, Boston and Philadelphia on Monday, while US airlines called off thousands of domestic flights and diverted planes away from Sandy’s path.
New York airports stayed open Sunday but the airport authority warned passengers there would be major disruption over the next two days.
According to the online aviation tracking service flightaware.com, more than 7,400 flights have already been cancelled because of the storm and worse was expected.
It said 1,240 domestic and international flights on Sunday were called off, with Newark airport in New York’s New Jersey suburbs worst hit. A further 5,560 flights scheduled for Monday and 645 flights on Tuesday have also been cancelled.
Flightaware noted the closure of mass transit systems and the need for staff to be home to prepare for the storm was a factor in early flight disruptions.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the region’s major John F. Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark airports have warned there will be “significant disruption” because of Hurricane Sandy.
The massive storm is expected to make landfall late Monday or early Tuesday in New Jersey or Delaware.
Authorities in New York and Washington have announced the closure of subway and public bus services on Monday, non-essential government workers have been told to stay at home, and schools across the region will be shuttered.