Hurricane Maria has so far claimed the lives of 31 people across the Caribbean region.
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376 flights cancelled or delayed as US blizzard wreaks havoc
The aviation tracking Web site flightaware.com reported yesterday that the blizzard that swept over north-east United States had forced the cancellation or delay of 376 flights from and to John F Kennedy International Airport, New York.
The winter storm, which has been affecting the north-eastern states since Thursday, left as much as two feet of snow in some areas, prompting the shutdown of major highways in many cities, including New York, whose airport was closed between 6.12 am and 8.30 am yesterday because of the severity of the storm.
The Associated Press yesterday reported that about 2,200 flights were cancelled nationwide, according flightaware.com, and most of them were in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Washington, DC. Governors in New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency and urged residents to stay at home. Hundreds of schools were also shut down in Boston and New York, extending the holiday break for tens of thousands of students.
Head of corporate communications at Caribbean Airlines, Clint Williams, yesterday confirmed the delays of several of the airline’s flights. They included: flight 521 from JFK to Piarco International at 6.45 am; flight 524 from Piarco International to JFK at 9 am; and flight 010 from JFK to Montego Bay, Jamaica. He also mentioned a delay for flight BW0600 from Piarco to Toronto.
Contacted by the T&T Guardian yesterday, Williams said: “We had three flights that were scheduled to depart that were unable to depart because of the closure of the airport (JFK) by the port authorities due to rapidly deteriorating weather conditions. “I can report that the airport reopened and our flights are being boarded and scheduled to operate any moment now.” Williams said none of the airline’s other routes were affected by delays and cancellations because of adverse weather conditions.
American Airlines, however, had to cancel several of its flights between JFK and the Caribbean. Laura Masvidal, communications representative for its Mexico, Caribbean and Latin America division, said flights to and from St Maarten, Antigua, St Thomas and Barbados had been cancelled until further notice. She was unable to identify any delays or cancellations affecting flights between JFK and Piarco International.
She urged affected passengers and those expecting family or friends who are travelling to check the status of flights on the airline’s Web site. Williams also recommended that passengers review their Caribbean Airlines flight status online, as there could be a long wait for the delayed aircraft when waiting to leave Port-of-Spain.