Airlines cancel 1,400 more flights as Florida airports start reopening

American Airlines planes are seen at the Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Florida, U.S., January 19, 2022. REUTERS/Octavio Jones

Sept 29 (Reuters) - Airlines cancelled about 1,400 flights for Friday while some major Florida airports that temporarily halted operations because of Hurricane Ian said they would resume operations after reporting no serious damage.

Tampa and St. Pete-Clearwater airports will both reopen Friday morning, while Sarasota-Bradenton airfield will be open for general aviation and air carriers late Thursday.

Airlines canceled 2,046 U.S. flights Thursday and nearly 2,200 Wednesday.

Orlando Airport said it expects to reopen at some point Friday but "a damage assessment is taking place" and all roads leading to the airport remain closed due to flooding. Walt Disney (DIS.N) said Thursday it would resume Disney World theme park and Disney Springs operations in Orlando in a phased approach starting on Friday after being closed.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told MSNBC there are mobile resources that can substitute for Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control towers if needed.

"But we still need to get the damages assessments to understand what's happened to other pieces of critical equipment like the instrument landing system elements and components that are on or around these runways. We're still getting information about the extent of the damage right now."

Reporting by David Shepardson and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell

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