Flights slowly begin to resuming at some airports

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Flights slowly begin to resuming at some airports

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Drone footage shows extensive flooding in Belhaven, North Carolina, after Hurricane Florence. Video shot by Tariq Zehawi and John Meore.
USA TODAY

Last update: Sunday, Sept. 16, at 2:30 p.m. ET. Next update By 7 p.m. ET

Flights were resuming at some hard-hit airports in the Carolinas, but normal operations remained days away for others as the remnants of Hurricane Florence continued to spin over the region on Sunday morning. 

At Charleston International Airport, the busiest along the coast of the Carolinas, Delta Air Lines resumed some flights on Saturday. Other airlines were expected to restart operations there later Sunday, with close-to-full schedules possible by Monday. With the reopening, however, the airport warned travelers to arrive early, saying: “We expect there will be lines as our airlines resume normal operations.” 

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Flights also were expected to resume Sunday at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach airport, though it would likely take at least until Monday for a full schedule.

And in Fayetteville, North Carolina — one of the cities most affected by Florence — some flights were set to begin around 2 p.m. ET, the airport said Sunday.

Overall, however, the cancellation tally from Florence continued to tick up. Nationwide, more than 3,450 flights had been canceled since Wednesday, with preemptive cancellations now stretching into Tuesday, flight-tracking service FlightAware.com counted as of 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. Nearly all were tied to disruptions in the Carolinas from Florence. 

FLIGHT TRACKER: Is your flight on time?

For Sunday, more than 615 flights had been canceled. The majority of those came in Charlotte, where American Airlines operates its second-busiest hub. But American said most of those cancellations were on its regional affiliates that fly to hard-hit airports where flights remain grounded. One other big carrier, Southwest, had grounded all of its flights in Charlotte as Florence approached. Southwest said it would begin flying from Charlotte again Sunday.

But the air-travel outlook appeared to improve significantly for the week ahead.

 

Already, Sunday’s cancellation tally was down from the 871 reported by FlightAware on Saturday and 904 on Friday. 

And while preemptive flight cancellations now extended into Tuesday, they continued to drop sharply. Ninety-eight flights were already grounded for Monday and 14 for Tuesday, nearly all to or from those coastal airports where schedules were slow to restart.

Florence’s remnants continued to bring heavy rains to the region Sunday, though the system was forecast to pick up speed and begin moving away from the region late Sunday. 

IN PICTURES: 30 cool aviation photos

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