Hurricane Harvey wreaks havoc on American air travel

By The Economist online …

Donald Trump went to the Texas coast on August 29th to see for himself the disaster-relief effort in response to Hurricane Harvey. But few other people are able to travel there. The storm has brought record-breaking rains and devastating floods to the Houston area, killing at least 30 people so far (the toll is expected to rise as the waters recede). The human and economic damage is extensive, but Harvey has had repercussions in a wide variety of less critical areas, including business travel.

Across America, more than 9,000 flights have been cancelled since Friday, nearly all due to Harvey. On August 29th, as the storm continued to dump water on Houston and threaten New Orleans 350 miles to the east, more than 1,500 flights to, from, or within the United States were cancelled as of midafternoon and twice as many were delayed, according to FlightAware, a flight tracker.

Half a dozen airports around Houston are closed, including the city’s two big international airports. The resulting chaos is hitting flyers well beyond Texas. More than 50m passengers passed through Houston’s airports last year. George Bush Intercontinental Airport is a major hub for United Airlines, which announced that the airport would remain closed until at least noon on Thursday. It serves more than 70 international destinations, so many travellers who aren’t starting or ending their trips in Texas—those flying from the east coast to Asia or Mexico, for example—still find themselves stranded by its closure. Houston’s second-biggest airport, William P. Hobby, is a hub for Southwest Airlines. The airport closed on Sunday morning, but Southwest still managed to rescue 500 stranded passengers before Hobby’s runways proceeded to turn into vast lakes.

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Read more here: Hurricane Harvey wreaks havoc on American air travel

Category: Business and finance, Gulliver

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