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Business Observer Thursday, Sep. 29, 2022 1 month ago

Flight cancellations, airport updates from Hurricane Ian at TPA, PIE, SRQ, RSW, PGD

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Forecast to approach west central Florida on Wednesday, Hurricane Ian is impacting travel across the region.
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport

After assessing damage at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, CEO and president Frederick Piccolo says the airport is looking at $500,000 to $1 million in repairs after part of the roof over the ticketing area blew off. 

The airport has also been dealing with water damage that happened because of the roof damage. Still, Piccolo says the airport will be functional by Friday night. 

As for when airlines will resume flights, Piccolo says it's up to each individual airline but assumes flights will be back on schedule by Saturday. 

 

Punta Gorda Airport 

The Punta Gorda Airport is in the dark and endured extensive damage from the storm, but is currently operating its airfield to accept emergency traffic.  

An update from the airport this afternoon says the PGD is expecting the Air National Guard from Florida and Texas to visit over the next few days, as well as a visit from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.  

The airport has a number of large hangars that were damaged during Hurricane Ian. As of this morning, airport officials had reached out to a design build firm for help finding a metal building contractor. It's also working with Florida Power and Light to determine when power may be restored at the terminal. After the power is back on, PGD will reach out to Allegiant to resume commercial traffic. 

In the meantime, the airport in Savannah is helping assist with fencing and operations by sending a team. "We expect a few other airports to send operations staff as well to supplement hours as they work at their houses," an airport official wrote in the update. 

"We are in the process of contacting all our employees — many sustained significant damages to their residences," the official also wrote, "and we'll need time to coordinate those repairs."

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport
 

In a Thursday afternoon tweet, the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport wrote it was assessing the damage caused and making repairs. 

At the time, the airfield is only open for emergency relief efforts. Around 8 p.m. Thursday, SRQ will open the airfield for general aviation and air carriers. In the meantime, the airport is pointing travelers to contact individual airlines for updates. 

 

Tampa International Airport

According to Thursday news release, Tampa International Airport will reopen at 10 a.m. Friday.

 “Airport maintenance and operations staff inspected the airfield and facilities this morning and determined (the airport) did not sustain any serious damage during the storm.”

 

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport

In a Thursday morning statement, St.Pete-Clearwater Airport says it sustained “no significant damage” and will reopen Friday morning. The airport is advising travelers to contact their airlines for updates.   

 

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport

SRQ remains closed Wednesday as Hurricane Ian moves onshore, it stated in a 12:10 p.m. social media post. Essential employees staying on site are monitoring conditions.

 

Southwest Florida International Airport

A 2:15 p.m. update for the Southwest Florida International Airport confirmed all flights have been cancelled for Wednesday with a number already cancelled for Thursday. 

 

Southwest Florida International Airport

The airport announced shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday that all Southwest Airlines flights have been cancelled for Wednesday, Sept. 28. 

 

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport

The Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport posted on social media at 9:40 a.m. Tuesday that it will close at 8 p.m. All flight operations will end after the day's final departure at 6 p.m.

 

Tampa International Airport

Tampa International Airport will shut down at 5 p.m. today, Tuesday, to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Ian.

At a Tuesday morning press conference, Tampa International Airport officials said about 120 employees would ride out Hurricane Ian, working to maintain the property and help kick off reopening efforts.

The employees are volunteers and will include CEO Joe Lopano.

At the press conference to outline the airport’s plans, official said the preparations were well underway and the major concern was flooding. Tampa International is just off the shore of Tampa Bay and, while exempt, is in the heart of a mandatory evacuation zone.

On Tuesday morning, though, the terminals were as busy as ever and there seemed to be little sign that a hurricane was only hours away from landfall.

That will change soon.

The airport is closing at 5 p.m. today ahead of the storm. Anyone scheduled to travel out of the airport needs to contact their airline for updates on flights and those traveling before the closure are being told to arrive two hours before their departure time.

It is far too early to know when the airport will reopen or when flights will resume, the officials said. “Damage assessments will begin as soon as it is safe to do so. TPA will closely coordinate the reopening of the airport with its partners based on roadway safety, facility readiness and staffing.”

What is known is that the closure is a major disruption. The airport sees about 450 flights per day and the financial impact of shutting down will be “in the millions” Lopano said.

“The goal is to reopen as quickly as possible,” he says.

Officials reiterated several times that the airport should not be considered a shelter and said anyone in need of a place to ride out the storm should contact local officials.

In fact, any passengers stranded at the airport will be moved to a local shelter, says John Tiliacos, executive Vice President of operations and customer service at the airport.

 

Punta Gorda Airport

All Allegiant flights at Punta Gorda Airport have been cancelled through Thursday, Sept. 29, due to a storm surge and hurricane warning set by National Weather Service — Ruskin. 

A spokesperson for the airport, with call letters PGD, says the aircrafts will be repositioned out of PGD by 2 p.m. Tuesday. The inbound flight scheduled for Tuesday was also cancelled. 

A statement on its website suggests that runways would continue to stay open until wind speeds reach roughly 45 mph. At that point, aircraft and tower operations will cease and airside hangars will be secured with chain locks. 

"We have not quantified potential lost revenues – but there will be less income from parking fees, food/beverage concessions and rental cars due to cancellations on Thursday," the spokesperson wrote. "There were only a few flights scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday, and there were 17 outgoing and 17 inbound flights scheduled on Thursday that have been cancelled."

Additionally, gust locks, which are locks that keep open aircraft doors in place while the aircraft is grounded, were secured on the 200 and 600-series T-hangers on Sunday. The airside hangar gates are expected to be secured with chain locks today. 

The statement also reminds passengers that the airport is not responsible for notifying passengers for flight changes. The airport also maintains that it is not a public hurricane shelter.  

 
Southwest Florida International Airport

A Tuesday morning update, just before 8 a.m., stated that flights at Southwest Florida International Airport are still operating. 

The departures and arrivals page did reflect that the majority of flights are still scheduled as on time or have already arrived. The exceptions today include:

  • Frontier arrival flight from Cleveland as well as a departure flight
  • United Airlines arrival flight from Newark
  • American Airlines arrival flight from Charlotte
 
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport

In a Monday evening website update, the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport states it will close before and during Hurricane Ian, "based on the last carrier flight out of SRQ." Specific closing and reopening updates will be released at a later time. Flights continue to operate as scheduled.

SRQ advises passengers to contact airlines directly for specific flight details.

 

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport

St. Pete-Clearwater Airport will shut at 1 p.m. Tuesday and will remain closed until, at a minimum, the mandatory evacuation has been lifted for Zone A in Pinellas County.

The final flight is scheduled to depart at 11:22 a.m. Tuesday.

“We will provide an update when the airport terminal plans to reopen,” officials say in a Monday afternoon statement. “We will also provide updates regarding flight activity as our airlines provide us with information. We advise passengers to monitor their airlines direct email and text communications for updated flight information.”

A spokeswoman for the airport says about 25 flights will be canceled Wednesday and Thursday.

 

Tampa International Airport

Tampa International Airport announced Monday afternoon that it would close operations in the next 24 hours to 48 hours depending on conditions.

In an afternoon email, airport officials say when winds reach a sustained 40 miles per hour service on airside shuttles and the airport's SkyConnect trains will reduce in frequency or stop. All operations will completely shut down once winds reach a sustained speed of 50 miles per hour.

The airport is located in a part of Tampa where a mandatory evacuation has been called for, but it is considered as critical infrastructure. Because of that, officials say it “will stay open until a closure is necessary.”  

 

Punta Gorda Airport

Punta Gorda Airport has not shut anything down yet but is following recommendations from Charlotte County Emergency Management.

A statement on its website originally suggested that runways would continue to stay open unless wind speeds reach roughly 50 mph. That has been updated to about 45 mph now. At that point, aircraft and tower operations will cease and airside hangars will be secured with chain locks. 

Additionally, gust locks, which are locks that keep open aircraft doors in place while the aircraft is grounded, were secured on the 200 and 600-series T-hangers on Sunday. The airside hangar gates are expected to be secured with chain locks on Tuesday. 

The statement also reminds passengers that the airport, with call letters PGD, is not responsible for notifying passengers for flight changes. The airport also maintains that it is not a public hurricane shelter.  

All of the arrivals and departures on PGD's websites reflected as being on time. 

 

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport

In a 12:30 p.m. Monday release, the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport states that it is monitoring Hurricane Ian but is currently open and operating as normal. 

According to its Monday flights listed online, the majority of SRQ's arrivals and departures are scheduled to be on time.

 

Southwest Florida International Airport

Everything is continuing to operate as normal at Southwest Florida International Airport, which operates under the call letters RSW. 

A spokesperson for the airport wrote in an email to the Business Observer on Monday morning shortly after 10 a.m.: “Flights at RSW are currently operating; however, we expect that the airlines that serve our airport will be making changes to their schedules as the storm moves closer to Southwest Florida.

“Although we will post general information about the impacts of the storm on our website and social media channels, the most up-to-date information about flights can be found on each airline’s website. Many airlines that operate into RSW are already waiving fees for rebooking due to Hurricane Ian.”

That being said, the departures and arrivals page did reflect that the majority are still scheduled as on time or have already arrived. The two exceptions are flight 2150 flying from Havana through Swiftair, which has been canceled, as well as the next flight out to Havana, flight 2151, which was supposed to take off at 3:05 this afternoon. 

The only other flight showing any disturbance is arrival flight 8129 through Sun Country Airlines from Gulfport has been delayed. 

 

Tampa International Airport

As Hurricane Ian approaches the Gulf Coast, the first airport cancellation is in. This one doesn’t involve flights, though.

According to a Monday morning news release, Tampa International Airport has postponed a hiring day scheduled for Sept. 27. A new date has not yet been set for the job fair.

For now, TIA continues to operate as normal, but officials say they are continuing to “make preparations to ensure the safety of our team, travelers, and facilities.”

 

 

Follow the Business Observer for updates on airport closures and flight cancellations as Hurricane Ian comes closer to the Gulf Coast.

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