Airports in Tampa and Orlando will reopen today, but many along Southwest Florida’s coast remain open only to emergency personnel. Travel plans for residents and visitors should begin to resume in the wake of Hurricane Ian’s devastation in the state.
Tampa International Airport (TPA) plans to resume operations beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday. But airport officials encourage all travelers to double-check flight times and schedules with airlines. The airport has been closed since Tuesday at 5 p.m. Officials say reopening at 10 a.m. should give adequate time for steps like bringing large aircraft back to the facility.
“We feel very lucky to have come out on the other side of this largely unscathed and are eager to restart operations after such a fraught and anxious week,” Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano said. “We can now continue serving as an important resource for our travelers and community, and begin helping our fellow Floridians in their time of need.”
Meanwhile, Orlando International Airport (MCO) will reopen at noon. One of America’s busiest airports, all commercial operations ceased at 10:30 on Wednesday as the hurricane tracked toward Central Florida. Officials stressed any information on individual flights should be confirmed with airlines.
But at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers, the facilities remain in use only for emergency purposes.
“The airport is closed except to emergency personnel and humanitarian flights,” reads a tweet on RSW’s official Twitter feed. “As soon as power and water is restored, we will open for commercial flights.”
The website for RSW remains down, and consumers should seek information on social media channels.
Those trapped in the region because their vehicles were in short- or long-term lots, though, can pick up their vehicles as of Friday morning.
“For people with cars in the long- and short-term lots, you will be able to get your vehicles out today between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Although the entry to the lots is marked with a ‘closed sign,’ tell the official stationed at the entrance you are picking up your car,” reads an operational update from the airport.
Further South, the Naples Airport reopened at 8 a.m. But due to damage to runway lighting and signage caused by the storm, the airport will only operate from dawn until dusk for the time being. Access to hangars remains limited.
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) remains open only for emergency relief efforts. On Thursday evening, the airport opened its airfield for general aviation and for air carriers. But officials are continuing to assess damage to the airport facilities at this time.
At Punta Gorda Airport, all flights today remain listed as canceled, with Allegiant grounding all flights.
Allegiant also has canceled most flights scheduled today at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International, but there is a proposed 11:17 a.m. Sun Country flight to Gulfport, Mississippi. PIE officials say there has been no significant damage and, pending FAA approval, the airport should reopen at 11 a.m. Friday.
Orlando-Sanford International Airport is referring all inquiries on when flights resume to Allegiant.