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Hurricane Irene disrupting flights at JIA
Hurricane Irene is surging up the East Coast, causing delayed and cancelled flights arriving at and departing from Jacksonville International Airport.
Irene was 240 miles east of St. Augustine and moving northwest around 8 a.m. this morning. Sustained winds of 39 miles per hour struck the Jacksonville Beach Pier, and the Carnival Fantasy cruise ship reported 46mph winds 32 miles east-northeast of Marineland, the National Weather Service said.
The hurricane is now east of the Georgia coastline and moving north.
Some airlines are preparing to cancel flights while others are waiting to see the effects of Irene.
JetBlue Airways spokeswoman Allison Steinberg said the airline, which operates direct flights from JIA to Boston and New York, has proactively canceled 880 flights for those two cities starting Sunday and continuing into Monday.
JetBlue (Nasdaq: JBLU) started offering to waive change/cancel fees and fare differences for passengers on Thursday through today for Jacksonville and other Florida cities, including Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and West Palm Beach.
Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), which operates a direct flight between JIA and Norfolk, Va., will temporarily suspend service in Norfolk beginning at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, spokeswoman Katie McDonald said. Resuming service is contingent on conditions after the hurricane passes the city.
U.S. Airways and Southwest have yet to cancel any flights, but officials for both airlines said they are closely monitoring conditions. Many of the airlines are offering to waive fees and help travelers affected by Irene.
JIA is seeing some delayed flights today to and from East Coast cities, including New York; Charlotte, N.C.; and Philadelphia.