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Gulf airlines scrap New York flights as Irene hits

Emirates and Etihad cancel flights as city braces under 115mph winds.
NEWS, Aviation

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Gulf carriers Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline have suspended their flights to New York in the wake of Hurricane Irene, the airlines said Sunday.

Emirates Airline said in a statement on its website that it had canceled six flights to the US financial hub on Sunday 28 and Monday 29 August, as New York braced under 115mph winds.

The EK201 from Dubai to JFK on 29 August would be departing with a 3.5 hour delay, leaving at 12.00pm local time while EK202 from JFK to Dubai on 29 August will operate as originally scheduled, said the Dubai carrier.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said it had canceled all services to and from New York (EY100 and EY101) on 27 and 28 August. Passengers due travel on those dates have been advised to rebook on alternative flights when operations are expected to resume, said the carrier.

“Etihad will operate the larger A340-600 aircraft on the route, upgrading from A340-500 aircraft, to provide additional capacity,” said a statement on its website. “Etihad is providing accommodation in Abu Dhabi for passengers currently in transit to New York.”

More than a quarter of a million people were told to evacuate New York ahead of the huge category one storm. Heavy rains across the city raised concerns of severe flooding while 200,000 New Yorkers were left without power as Hurricane Irene ripped through the city.

The hurricane has so far killed ten people, including two children. In total more than two million people across the US have been ordered to leave their homes while a state of emergency have been declared in North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

Approximately 4,000 flights were canceled through the weekend but that number is expected to grow as airlines firm up their plans, according to FlightAware.com, a website that tracks flights

More than 52,000 flights were canceled last winter due to heavy snowstorms in the US, at a cost of millions of dollars to the aviation industry.

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