Flights begin to resume at South Florida airports

Planes arrive, depart from Miami, Fort Lauderdale Tuesday morning

MIAMI – Flights begun to resume Tuesday at airports in South Florida, two days after Hurricane Irma crippled the region.

Miami-Dade Aviation Department spokesman Marc Henderson said passenger and cargo flights have resumed at Miami International Airport on a limited basis, beginning with an American Airlines flight from Seattle that landed at 7:06 a.m.

MIA's first departure was also an American Airlines flight to Las Vegas, which departed at 9:05 a.m.

"Given that many airlines are not operating their full schedule of flights, passengers should contact their airline to confirm their flight's status before coming to the airport," Henderson said in an email.

MIA is scheduled to operate about 30 percent of its usual number of flights on Tuesday, and the percentage is expected to increase daily until the airport reaches full operations -- possibly by this weekend.

The Miami Rental Car Center has also reopened, as well as Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Local 10 News reporter Sanela Sabovic was at FLL Tuesday after people who had evacuated from South Florida returned home.

"I think it's more anxiety," Matt Flannery, of Tamarac, said. "We did miss the heavy part of the storm, but still, I have friend here who said that it was really blowing, so you don't know what you're going to find. I'm out in Tamarac, so you know, I hope for the best."

Some people, however, are still stuck at the airports, as their flights were still canceled or delayed on Tuesday.

One family who Local 10 News reporter Erica Rakow spoke to Tuesday at MIA said they are from Key West and were forced to evacuate.

Since only the Upper Keys have reopened to residents and business owners, they are still trying to leave Florida until they can return home.

"We got the news of the hurricane, so we normally evacuate to Miami, to my aunt's house," Fallon Canizares said. "My dad and my husband had to stay behind because they're first responders. My dad is a fireman and my husband is a lineman apprentice, so we just came up here and then hit it pretty bad here. We have no power, the baby's pretty miserable, everybody's pretty miserable, so I'm trying to get to my cousin out in Philly."

Henderson said Miami Executive Airport is open Tuesday, but the FAA tower is closed pending a damage assessment. Flights are operating with pilot-to-pilot communication, he said.

Miami-Homestead General Aviation Airport is also open, but the Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport remains closed.

Key West International Airport, Florida Keys Marathon Airport and Naval Air Station Key West are open only for emergency response flights. The airports already have begun to receive emergency supplies and other emergency resources, Monroe County officials said. 

Passengers at all airports are asked to contact their airline to confirm their flight's status before arriving to the airport. 

About the Authors: