Fliers face delays, cancelations after FLL airport reopens amid flooding in Fort Lauderdale

Broward officials ask fliers to check with airlines before arriving at FLL

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Planes are finally moving on the runway on Saturday at Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport after a complete shutdown following this week’s weather.

Many cautious travelers returned to the airport and once again experience long lines Friday night to go through security checkpoints.

“I was a little shy, but there’s a lot of hope that everything is going to be fine tonight,” said Robert Ginnett, an FLL traveler.

Local 10 News spoke with one couple on Saturday trying to catch their flight home following a cruise.

“I was concerned that our flight would be delayed because they have to accommodate those who were closed when the airport was closed down, but it seems pretty good here,” said Doreen Walker.

Arlene Satchell, a Public Information Officer with the Broward County Aviation Department, released the following statement on Saturday in regard to the status of the airport.

“The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport expects to resume limited arrival and departure aircraft operations on the North Runway at noon today. The airport reopened on Friday at 9AM with flight operations only on its South Runway.”

FLL was closed Wednesday evening and Thursday and reopened at 9 a.m., Friday, after the Federal Aviation Administration issued ground stops on flights during a deluge.

This prompted a list of hundreds of cancelations and delays, so flying out of FLL was already proving not to be easy. Broward County officials asked fliers to get updates directly from the airlines before arriving at the airport.

Only one of two runways remain open at Fort Lauderdale airport due to the excessive flooding.

“It’s really, really a good sign the recovery that is underway, and right now we’re operating with one runway,” said Satchell. “The south runway and hopefully, in the next few days we’ll be able to resume full operations on both runways.”

Many traveling Friday had been affected by the cancellations.

“I got a text at like 12 a.m. midnight, (saying) you can’t fly any more,” said Jeremiah Osifo.

“I guess you could say we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to get back on a plane at all,” said Alana Bohura, who was looking to depart Fort Lauderdale.

With only one runway open, we’re still seeing plenty of delays. airport officials are also saying over 200 flights were still cancelled on Friday.

Airport officials say they hope to open the other runway in the coming days, but for now it remains underwater.

“We got a little bit of water in the elevator shaft, but thankfully, beyond that, the terminal buildings themselves, fared very, very well,” said Satchell.

WEATHER CENTER: Broward expects more afternoon rain amid recovery from ‘1-in-1,000-year’ flood

According to Flight Aware, the FLL closure resulted in 550 flight cancelations just on Thursday. This affected fliers with several airlines, including Southwest and Allegiant.

The National Weather Center reported a record of nearly 26 inches of rainfall in areas of Fort Lauderdale — which meteorologists referred to as a historic weather event because of its “1-in-1,000″ chance of happening within a given year.

Airport officials continue to remind travelers to check with the status of their flights with the airlines before they come to FLL as many flights are still delayed and some remains cancelled.

For more information about the status of FLL flights, visit the airport’s interactive flight information page.

Local 10 News reporter Trent Kelly contributed to this story.

Complete coverage of flooding emergency

Passengers stranded at FLL as flooding closes airport
Passengers wait for news of when FLL will reopen
Sky 10 over flooding in Broward County. (WPLG)
FILE - Flooding lingers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on April 13, 2023, after heavy rain pounded South Florida. Over 25 inches of rain fell in South Florida since Monday, causing widespread flooding. (Joe Cavaretta /South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Passengers still stranded as Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport remains shut down
A truck drives on the flooded runway at Fort Lauderdale- Hollywood International Airport, Thursday, April 13, 2023, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Fort Lauderdale issued a state of emergency as flood conditions continued through many areas. Over 25 inches of rain fell in South Florida since Monday causing widespread flooding.(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

This is a developing story. Local 10 News Assignment Desk Editors Frine Gomez and Wilson Louis contributed to this report.

About the Authors:

Alex Finnie joined the Local 10 News team in May 2018. South Florida is home! She was raised in Miami and attended the Cushman School and New World School of the Arts for high school.

Cody Weddle joined Local 10 News as a full-time reporter in South Florida in August of 2022. Before that, Cody worked regularly with Local 10 since January of 2017 as a foreign correspondent in Venezuela and Colombia.