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Ian has weakened to a tropical storm, continues to pummel Florida

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Ian has weakened to a tropical storm, continues to pummel Florida

Tropical Storm Ian threatens another blow to air travel as it moves up the east coast and away from the Florida panhandle, where airports are assessing conditions and determining when service can safely resume.

Flight cancelations are about to surpass those of Wednesday — the worst day for US flight cancelations of the last six months, FlightAware data shows Thursday. As of 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, airlines have canceled more than 2,000 flights in the US and have already canceled more than a thousand flights on Friday.

“Tropical storm Ian is moving off of Florida into the Atlantic and is expected to turn northwest and make landfall again in the Carolinas tomorrow,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement, saying passengers should check on the status of their flights with the airlines. 

Here’s a look at how some airlines are impacted:

  • American Airlines — which canceled more than 600 flights on Wednesday and another 348 on Thursday — says operations at its fourth largest hub in Miami are recovering.
  • Southwest Airlines, which typically operates a high number of routes to and from Florida airports, canceled more than 525 flights.
  • United Airlines says it has proactively canceled more than 392 flights to and from Florida airports since Tuesday.

Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport anticipates reopening by late Friday, CEO Rick Piccolo told CNN. He watched from his office as the storm pulled apart the airport’s roof. “While we won’t look as pretty as we used to because the ceiling’s all gone, we’ll be functional,” he said.    

Tampa International Airport officials said an inspection Thursday morning “determined TPA did not sustain any serious damage during the storm.” It expects “high passenger volumes” when it reopens at 10 a.m. on Friday. The airport is “very lucky to have come out on the other side of this largely unscathed,” airport CEO Joe Lopano said in a statement.  

Melbourne Orlando International Airport – one of the smaller commercial airports in Florida with service from Allegiant, American and Delta — said it plans to reopen Friday morning.

CEO James Parish said Punta Gorda Airport experienced “extensive” damage to hangars at the airport and does not have power in the passenger terminal. Once power is restored, the airport will make plans to restore service from Allegiant Air, he added.

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