The approach of Hurricane Matthew has forced the cancellations of flights along the Southeast coast, including Myrtle Beach International Airport where commercial flights are expected to be canceled during the storm.
“Lots of cancellations started yesterday and I believe most operations for airlines have officially been canceled for Saturday,” said Kirk Lovell, director of Air Service and Business Development.
“The majority of today’s flights have been canceled. There are still a couple in the system, but those could be canceled throughout the day,” Lovell said.
Hurricane Matthew is expected to come within 50 miles of the Grand Strand, and hurricane warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service.
Passengers are urged to check whether flights have been canceled through the weekend, and to rebook or refund those flights through their air carrier, not the airport.
Most airlines offer instructions on how to rebook or cancel flights without fees assessed through the airline’s website.
At the Grand Strand Airport in North Myrtle Beach, officials have been working on drainage issues that can affect operations.
Notice will be issued if the Grand Strand Airport closes.
“General aviation people keeping aircraft there need to check and make sure it’s tied down if the aircraft is not evacuating,” Lovell said.
“They need to be prepared for that,” Lovell said.
Myrtle Beach International Airport is in Zone B, which has not been evacuated. However, Lovell said that passengers should not show up expecting to be sheltered until flights are rescheduled.
“Airports are not shelters. We don’t want people showing up at the airport thinking they can camp out there, because they can’t,” Lovell said.
“If you have a flight, check with the airline prior to coming to the airport,” Lovell said.
All storm procedures have been put into place in anticipation of Matthew; jet bridges are tied down and access gates chained so the wind doesn’t blow them open, Lovell said.
“We’ve been ready to go for the last couple of days,” Lovell said.