BY HUGO MARTIN
Since Hurricane Harvey reached land in Texas, the ensuing flooding has forced the delay or cancellation of almost 11,000 flights across the U.S., mostly in hardest-hit Houston and nearby airports.
From Saturday through Monday morning, the storm delayed 6,309 flights across the country and forced the cancellation of 4,528 flights, according to the monitoring site FlightAware.com.
A vast majority of those delays and cancellations have been for flights in and out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. As of Monday morning, access to the airport for travelers and airline staff has been hampered by flooded streets.
Harvey — which has dwindled into a tropical storm — has sent ripples throughout the nation’s air transport system. More than 70 flights from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport were canceled or delayed Monday morning, as were nearly 60 flights from Los Angeles International Airport.
The storm has ravaged a swath of the Gulf Coast, but its effect on airline service has been moderate compared with natural disasters that have hit the East Coast, which is home to the nation’s busiest airspace.
In 2012, Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, forcing the cancellation of more than 18,000 flights in a five-day period, with thousands of other flights delayed nationwide. Hurricane Irene forced the cancellation of about 15,000 flights, plus many delays, in August 2011.