More flights canceled as Hurricane Maria ravishes Caribbean

September 20, 2017
Hurricane Maria Caribbean
The projected track of Hurricane Maria: Source: NOAA.

Airlines are canceling flights again after Hurrricane Maria, a Category 5 superstorm packing winds of up to 160mph, slammed into the weather-weary Caribbean.

The US National Hurricane Center warned Tuesday of “potentially catastrophic” consequences as Hurricane Maria “continues west-northwestward toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.”

When now played out Hurricane Irma came through, she brushed against Puerto Rico and hit St. Thomas hard.

This time around it appears Puerto Rico won’t be so lucky, and that the Virgin Islands will see another round of catastrophic weather.

Airlines are preparing for the onslaught by cancelling flights from an array of Caribbean airports, most notably San Juan, P.R. (SJU) According to FlightAware 82 percent of its flights will be axed Wednesday, September 20. That’s 73 departures.

Meanwhile, Cyril E. King Airport (STT) on St. Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands will see at least 68 percent of its departures scrubbed September 20.

Southwest Airlines says all operations will stop at STT after 6 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time Tuesday September 19. Other carriers are also cancelling large swaths, if not, all flights in the region. They are also waiving change fees and cancellation fees in the affected area.

To help with the evacuation of Puerto Rico, Delta Air Lines operated extra flights into San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport. The aircraft are comparatively large single-aisle narrowbodies—757s and A321s.

Some airlines, such as Delta, are capping the cost of a ticket from San Juan to the U.S. Mainland at US$199.

Meanwhile last week’s nemesis, Hurricane Jose, continues to lose power as it brushes up against the Eastern Seaboard of the Mainland.

Some flights in New England flown by smaller commuter aircraft have been cancelled for Wednesday, notably at Nantucket Memorial Airport (ACK).

Hurricane Harvey caused widespread cancellations in the region around Texas when it hit in late August.