Hurricane Florence track shifts south, could make South Carolina landfall, NHC says
This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. ET
Airlines have canceled hundreds of flights in the Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Florence, and more may be likely.
Nationwide, more than 900 flights have been canceled from Wednesday through Friday, flight-tracking service FlightAware reported as of 1:30 p.m. ET.
Many of those flights originate from airports along the coast, including Charlotte, Wilmington, Raleigh-Durham, Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Savannah, where some airports announced plans to reduce or halt flight operations ahead of Florence’s expected landfall.
Officials at Charleston International, South Carolina’s busiest airport, announced Wednesday the airport will suspend flights and close runways at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
The Air Force owns the two runways at CHS.
Paul Campbell, CEO and executive director of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, in a press release, said he expects the Air Force could reopen the runways at 7 a.m. Saturday, allowing air service to resume. Campbell, however, emphasize that is subject to change, depending on the storm’s path and impact on the area.
“The safety of our passengers and airport employees is our No. 1 priority,” Campbell said in a statement.
Charleston is served by eight airlines. Some have already canceled flights through Friday. Others will continue operations Wednesday until the runways are closed, according to the airport.
Customers should contact their air carrier for information on cancellations and for rebooking assistance, Campbell said.
Airport parking facilities will remain open so passengers who are able to return to Charleston may pick up their vehicles, according to the airport.
For now, Charlotte Douglas International Airport continues to monitor weather conditions. Passengers are encouraged to check with their airline for flight information and follow CLT’s twitter feed @CLTAirport or check here for the latest news.
Southwest said it intend to suspend operations at CLT as of midday Thursday, and had canceled all flights in and out of the airport and Norfolk, Va., through Friday night.
American, which operates one of its busiest hubs in Charlotte, canceled more than 100 flights in the Carolinas through Friday.
Columbia Metropolitan Airport and Myrtle Beach International airports will remain open through the hurricane, according to airport officials, though airlines may or may not operate.
“No flights are canceled as of this moment, but airline operations are subject to change,” Columbia airport spokeswoman Lynne Douglas said. “That’s why we are asking folks to check in with their airline and keep in close contact with them. Right now, no decisions have been made” by the airlines regarding their operations at the airport.
The Myrtle Beach airport posted on Facebook Wednesday morning that seats were still available on Spirit Airlines to Boston, Atlantic City, Baltimore-Washington, Newark, Detroit, Hartford, LaGuardia, Chicago and beyond. Visit www.spirit.com for tickets.
Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Airport in Richland County said Wednesday it was operating as usual.
Carriers are waiving rebooking fees for travelers scheduled to fly to airports in the expected path of Hurricane Florence. And Delta Air Lines said it is capping air fares for flights for select coastal and inland cities from Savannah, Ga., up to Richmond, Va. through Sept. 16. The fare cap is as low as $299 in the main cabin up to $799 in the forward cabin.
While still expected to hit the Carolina coast, Florence’s track shifted overnight to the south and west and appears likely to turn west toward Georgia and stall over the region.