Originally created 09/16/99

Airport closings spill over



Hurricane Floyd caused some headaches Wednesday for air travelers in Augusta.

U.S. Airways Express, a commuter airline, canceled some flights Wednesday evening to and from Charlotte, N.C., said Chris Ellis, the airline's station manager at Augusta Regional Airport at Bush Field.

The airline was monitoring the situation to determine whether to cancel other flights, Mr. Ellis said. The airline planned to evacuate its Charlotte hub if bad weather hit, a move that could further affect flights, he said.

"It's an hour-by-hour thing," he said. "We're just watching the weather. Right now, everything is on a flight-by-flight basis."

The airline is allowing passengers on canceled flights to rebook tickets on the same itinerary within the next seven days with no service charge, Mr. Ellis said. If ticket holders want to rebook a flight or learn whether their flight has been affected, they can call the airline's reservations line at (800) 428-4322.

As Floyd hits airports farther north along the Atlantic coast, more flights from Bush Field might be affected, said Al McDill, the airport's manager. The airport is advising travelers to contact their airline before departing for the airport if they are scheduled to travel today.

"There are airports in Florida, Savannah and Charleston (S.C.) that are closed, and a number of other airports are getting ready to shut down," he said. "That has a domino effect."

Besides the U.S. Airways Express flights, two more flights from Bush Field were canceled, Mr. McDill said. Other than the cancellations, Floyd has had little impact on the airport, he said.

Few pilots fleeing the coast chose to land in Augusta, instead preferring to fly farther inland, Mr. McDill said.

"The tower tells me they had an extremely busy day dealing with air traffic, but it was all aircraft flying to points beyond," he said.

To protect parked aircraft from winds in Augusta, planes are being moved into hangars or tied down to tarmacs if there is no space indoors, Mr. McDill said. Fuel tanks in airport vehicles are being filled, he said.

Passengers who wish to check the status of Delta Air Lines flights can call (404) 773-2050. Passengers wishing to learn about Atlantic Southeast Airlines flights can call (800) 282-3424.

REACH

Brandon Haddock at (706) 823-3409.