(August 31, 2008) – According to the National Weather Service, Gustav is moving quickly in a Northwestward direction over the North Central Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to make landfall over the Southeast Louisiana Gulf coast tomorrow as a major category three hurricane. Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph with higher gusts.
Updates have been issued by AirTran Airways, Southwest Airlines and Continental Airlines in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Gustav, as the Cayman Islands issues the All Clear. Details follow:
AirTran Airways has cancelled the following flights due to the projected path of Hurricane Gustav.
Flights To/From Remarks
Gulfport/Biloxi, Miss. All Flights Cancelled Monday, September 1, 2008.
Flights for Tuesday, September 2, are still
scheduled to operate at this time, however,
that may change due to Hurricane Gustav.
New Orleans, La. All Flights Cancelled Monday, September 1 and
Tuesday, September 2, 2008. Projected resumption
of operations is Wednesday, September 3, 2008, but
is subject to change based on the availability
of airport employees and security personnel,
facilities and services at the New Orleans
Pensacola, Fla. Flights Are Cancelled for Monday, September 1,
2008 through the mid-afternoon. Depending on
Gustav’s path, the airline will make a
determination tomorrow morning on the remainder
of the Pensacola flights on Monday afternoon
At this time, operations to/from Houston, Texas are not affected. Hurricane Gustav is a fast-moving storm and weather conditions change rapidly so the airline strongly encourages passengers to check the status of their flights by visiting http://www.airtran.com/ or by calling 1-800-AIRTRAN (247-8726).
The airline has waived change fees and fare adjustments for passengers with flights booked to/from Gulfport/Biloxi, Mississippi; New Orleans, Louisiana and Pensacola, Florida through September 2, 2008. Passengers may adjust their travel plans to an alternate date starting today through seven days from the original travel date.
Passengers holding reservations for travel to/from these destinations scheduled through September 2, 2008, should check http://www.airtran.com/ under “Flight Status” for updates or call 1-800-AIRTRAN (247-8726).
Additional updates on flights affected by Hurricane Gustav will be issued as needed.
Southwest Airlines said today that it will cease operations to and from New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport after 5:30 p.m. Central Time today as a result of expected severe weather from Hurricane Gustav. The airline does not expect to operate on Monday, September 1, or Tuesday, September 2. Southwest plans to resume service to and from New Orleans on Wednesday, September 3, but that will depend upon the availability of airport security personnel, facilities and services.
Southwest strongly encourages travelers to contact Southwest Reservations at (800) 435-9792 or look for updated travel advisories at: www.southwest.com/content/travel_center/travel_advisory_0038.html?ref=wthr before checking in or proceeding to the airport.
Southwest Airlines customers holding reservations for travel to and from New Orleans from Noon Central Time on Friday, August 29, through the close of business Wednesday, September 3, may choose to alter their travel plans and rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with our accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge.
Additionally, customers holding reservations for a flight that is cancelled to and from New Orleans may request a refund for any unused ticket/travel itinerary.
Southwest also is issuing a weather travel advisory for customers traveling to and from Jackson, Mississippi. Depending on the storm’s path, flight service could be disrupted. Flights to and from Jackson currently are operating normally, but possible disruptions could occur Monday, September 1, and Tuesday, September 2. Again, customers are advised to check status online at www.southwest.com or by calling (800) 435-9792.
Continental Airlines began adding larger aircraft and additional flights into and out of New Orleans yesterday to assist with evacuation efforts. The extra capacity will provide space for more than 1,200 additional customers through Sunday. To assist the affected areas, Continental has transported employees into the region to provide additional staffing.
Weather conditions will force some delays and cancellations of flights to selected Gulf Coast cities through next week. Station closures for Monday have been announced for New Orleans, Louisiana; Lafayette, Louisiana; Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Gulfport, Mississippi and Beaumont, Texas. For an updated list of affected cities, travelers should visit continental.com.
Customers booked on flights to and from applicable airports will be permitted a one-time date or time change to their itinerary without penalty for rescheduled travel. If a flight has been canceled, a refund in the original form of payment may be requested. Complete details are available at continental.com.
The fastest and most convenient way to change travel plans is via continental.com. Customers should enter their confirmation number and last name in “Manage Reservations.”
Customers may also call Continental Airlines reservations at 800-525-0280 or their travel agent.
Continental.com provides an overview of Continental operations, as well as up-to-date information regarding the status of specific flights. Automated flight status information is also available at 800-784-4444.
All Clear Issued for Cayman Islands
The government of the Cayman Islands has issued the All Clear from Hurricane Gustav for Grand Cayman as of 12:00 p.m. EDT yesterday. Assessments are still being done in the Sister Islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.
The Cayman Islands returns to business as usual today, August 31, 2008 – the business of tranquil seas and plenty of sunshine. Owen Roberts International Airport has already re-opened for inbound and outbound flights, allowing visitors to resume travel into Grand Cayman. Please find below the updated flight schedule for Cayman Airways, the national flag carrier of the Cayman Islands, along with the destination’s additional travel partners. All travelers should check in with their planned airlines and hotel properties prior to arrival to reconfirm their reservations.
His Excellency the Governor Mr. Stuart Jack stated, “It is essentially business as usual in the Cayman Islands. We are still assessing damage, but initial reports indicate that Gustav caused little damage to our country. There are no reports of any serious injuries or fatalities.
The All Clear has been issued for Grand Cayman, and the Owen Roberts International Airport has reopened as of 1:00 p.m. EDT yesterday. Major businesses also will resume operations shortly.
Since the devastation of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the Cayman Islands has continued to systematically improve its capacity to withstand hurricanes, as well as other hazards that have the potential to affect us.
Gustav is now a strong category four hurricane, as it moves away from the Cayman Islands. The people of Cuba, the Florida Keys, and the entire Gulf Coast are in our thoughts and prayers as we monitor this powerful storm.”
All scheduled flights for Sunday, August 31st will operate as scheduled except for the following cancellation:
— KX793 JFK-GCM (August 31)
Additional flights from South Florida to Grand Cayman will likely be scheduled. For the latest and most accurate flight information passengers are advised to check the Cayman Airways website at www.caymanairways.com or with the Cayman Airways Reservations Department at 345-949-2311.