Superstorm Sandy: Disruption to US flights could go into next week
TRANSATLANTIC flights could be disrupted by up to a week because of the scale of the travel chaos caused by the storm, passengers have been warned.
Direct flights between Scotland and New York will not resume until tomorrow at the earliest, with the United Airlines services from Edinburgh and Glasgow among more than 18,000 cancelled since Monday.
The main airports in the New York City area, which include JFK and Newark, remained closed yesterday, causing major disruption to flights because they handle around one quarter of US air traffic.
However, UK flights to several other north-east US cities resumed yesterday, including British Airways services to Boston and Washington DC.
Angela Gittens, director general of trade body Airports Council International, said: “Even if storm damage is minor, it could be a week before operations are normal at major east-coast airports.
“The storm has such a wide swathe and so many major airports are involved that it’s going to take some time [to recover] because those airplanes are so far away.”
Hundreds of stranded US tourists faced long queues for hotel vouchers at Heathrow yesterday after being told they may not get home until the weekend.
Lindsay Pereira, 28, a doctor, had been working on a medical mission trip in Africa for four weeks when she became stranded on her way back to New Jersey. She said: “They’ve just told us we won’t fly back until the weekend, so we’ll have to come to the airport every day to get vouchers for a hotel.”
A BA spokesman said: “We are doing all we can to help customers whose flights have been cancelled and will look to use larger aircraft on some routes when the full flying schedule resumes to help get customers to their correct destination as quickly as we can.”
The storm has also caused the worst damage in the 108-year history of the New York City Subway, which is used by 5.3 million people a day. It is unlikely to re-open until the weekend.
All seven subway tunnels under the East River between Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn took in water, and any resulting salt water damage to electrical equipment would have to be cleaned before trains can resume.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east