Flight schedules aren’t yet back to normal in Florida following Hurricane Irma, but they’re trending in the right direction.
More than 435 flights had been canceled nationwide as of 10 a.m. ET, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware. Miami accounted for more than half of those, with many others scattered across other Florida airports such as Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville.
Going forward, Florida’s Irma-related cancellations were pushing into the weekend. Already, more than 250 flights had been preemptively grounded for Saturday. But, so far, only about two dozen flights had been canceled for Sunday.
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While more cancellations could be added to the board for both days, the relatively low total so far indicates airlines may be inching ever closer to normal operations in Florida. Those totals come after 730 cancellations were tallied on Thursday and 1,100 on Wednesday, marking a welcome downward trend for air travelers.
Several airlines had previously said they hoped to be able to resume normal schedules by the end of this weekend. Among those was American Airlines, which operates one of its busiest hubs at Miami.
In Tampa, the Tampa International Airport tweeted: “Back in biz! We’re seeing 90 percent of our normal arrival & departure ops and expect to be at 100 percent by this weekend.”
Among airports, one notable exception was in hard-hit Key West. The small commercial airport there remained closed to regular airline flights as of Friday afternoon. It was not immediately clear when flights would resume, though the Federal Aviation Administration’s flight-delay page now suggested that might not happen until next week.
More broadly, both airports and airlines in the region had faced a complicated restart effort even after Irma moved out.
Many Floridians evacuated ahead of Irma, meaning many workers first had to return to the area before they could take up their posts at the airport. That affected everything from airport retail outlets to staffing for TSA and United States Customs and Border Protection locations.
Airlines faced a similar scenario. Planes that were flown out of…