Hurricane Ian forces airlines to ax west Florida flights

Local residents fill sandbags, as Hurricane Ian spun toward the state carrying high winds, torrential rains and a powerful storm surge, at Ben T. Davis Beach in Tampa, Florida, U.S., September 26, 2022. Shannon Stapleton | ReutersAirlines canceled flights and at least one major airport on Florida’s west coast said it will suspend operations ahead of Hurricane Ian’s arrival.The Category 3 storm is expected to make landfall on the state’s Gulf Coast early Wednesday. Tampa International Airport said it will suspend operations at 5 p.m. EDT on Tuesday.Delta, Southwest, American, United, Spirit and JetBlue said they are waiving flight change fees or fare differences for travelers affected by the storm at airports throughout Florida.Officials at Southwest Florida International Airport, which serves the Fort Myers area, are expecting flight cancellations late Tuesday and throughout Wednesday. They will hold a call with carriers and the Federal Aviation Administration at 1 p.m. Tuesday to discuss next steps as Hurricane Ian approaches.Southwest said that it is suspending operations Tuesday evening through Thursday in Tampa, Sarasota and Fort Myers.Airlines generally move their planes out of a storm’s path ahead of its arrival and cancel numerous flights to avoid stranding passengers and crews.

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