Hurricane Ian disrupts business and travel in Floridagrounding flights and forcing Tampa International Airport to suspend all flights beginning at 5 p.m
Airport officials said they were grounding flights to prepare the airfield and terminals for the storm by securing jet bridges, planes and other equipment.
“This is a very dangerous system,” Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano said at a press conference. “Due to the storm and high winds we are closing at 5pm today”
Lopano noted that airlines have already canceled local flights and moved planes to safer areas. By noon, 147 flights to and from the Tampa airport had been canceled. FlightAware, a real-time flight tracking website. Another seven flights were delayed.
“As far as I know, we’ve never had a storm of this magnitude,” John Tilliakos, the airport’s executive vice president of operations, said at a news conference.
The airport handles about 450 flights a day, and it is unclear how soon it will be able to reopen. Located near Tampa Bay, Ian’s storm surge is expected to be 10-15 feet surge plus 15-20 inches of rain as well as high tides.
The chief executive of Lopan Airport said he expected the financial loss from the closure for a couple of days to be “in the millions”.
“And unfortunately, Jan doesn’t give us a choice. So we’ll just do it as painlessly as possible,” he added.
Ian is headed to Disney
Walt Disney World in Orlando is also closing some hotels and theme parkswreaking havoc on his territory.
“Walt Disney World Resort is preparing to make necessary operational adjustments based on the latest information from the National Weather Service,” the company said in a statement. statement on its website.
The theme park remains open, but some of its attractions and lodging options, including Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, will be closed Wednesday through Friday.
Oil production is lost
The hurricane has already disrupted the energy sector, with oil producers BP and Chevron halting production at offshore oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
On Monday, BP said it had evacuated personnel from its Na Kika platform, which produces 130,000 barrels of oil per day as well as 550 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. It is also cutting production at its Thunder Horse platform, which produces 250,000 barrels of oil per day as well as 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.
Chevron too said it is removing staff from its Petronius and Blind Faith platforms and temporarily suspending operations at the facilities. Combined, they produce about 120,000 barrels of oil per day.