Nation e-Edition

Hurricane Sandy grounds flights in US

Waves wash over the sea wall near high tide at Battery Park in New York today. (AP)

Mon, October 29, 2012 - 11:29 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Hurricane Sandy grounded thousands of flights in the U.S. northeast today and upended travel plans across the globe, stranding passengers from Hong Kong to Europe. The massive storm threatens to bring a near halt to air travel for at least two days in a key region for both domestic and international flights.

Major carriers such as American Airlines, United and Delta cancelled all flights into and out of three area airports in New York, the nation's busiest airspace. According to the flight-tracking service FlightAware, nearly 10,000 flights had been canceled for Monday and Tuesday, almost all related to the storm.

Delays rippled across the U.S., affecting travelers in cities such as San Francisco to Chicago. Disruptions spread to Europe and Asia, where airlines canceled or delayed flights to New York and Washington from cities that are major travel hubs including London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

About one-quarter of all U.S. flights travel in or out of New York airports each day. So cancellations here can dramatically impact travel in other cities.

Forecasters say Hurricane Sandy is about 310 miles (505 kilometers) southeast of New York City, and the center of the storm is expected to be near the mid-Atlantic coast tonight. The National Hurricane Center said early today that the system has top sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph), with higher gusts. Sandy is on track to collide with a wintry storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic.

Airports in the metropolitan New York City area are open, but air carriers are not operating.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Monday that travelers shouldn't even try to go to Kennedy, Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and Stewart airports

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