No sign of airport damage as passengers arrive
By the official reopening time of 5pm at the LF Wade International Airport, an Air Canada aircraft had already arrived, and passengers were being processed.
US Airways Flight 824 from Philadelphia, that was about three-quarters full of passengers, including anxious returning residents, was taxiing down the runway.
Flights from New York, Florida and London were expected by airport staff to round out the arrivals for the evening.
On arrival, the runways and grass areas were completely clear of debris and airport staff were completing window cleaning. The arrivals hall showed no signs of the hurricane that had passed through just 48 hours earlier and, as arriving passengers navigated through the area, there were no indications of damage suffered by the airport.
There appeared to be some minor technical problems at the immigration desks, but they were resolved quickly. HSBC customs assessment and payment ATMs were fully functional, as were the luggage carousels. The Butterfield Bank customs ATM was also observed in use.
It appeared there was a full quotient of airport staff on hand conducting their professional duties, but when asked about their experiences during the hurricane all described a very frightening storm and some had come to work from damaged homes.
Passengers with travel plans to Bermuda who want to bring equipment with them to aid with the clean-up efforts and power should check carefully with their airline. US Airways was refusing to allow equipment that is powered by petroleum products and had turned away chainsaws and a generator early in the check-in process at the airport in Philadelphia.
The LF Wade International Airport reopened for normal operations at 5pm today after an extensive damage assessment.
“We recorded some roof damage and partial loss of runway edge and approach lighting, in addition to some other areas that require attention,” Aaron Adderley, the airport general manager, said.
Airport Operations confirmed the following flight schedules:
Air Canada’s flight from Toronto will arrive in Bermuda at 5.05pm and depart at 6.20pm and US Airways’ flight out of Philadelphia will now arrive at 5.25 pm and depart at 7.00 pm.
The British Airways flight from London Gatwick is scheduled to arrive on time at 6.15 pm. However, the return flight to London will now depart tomorrow morning at 9.00am. As such, the airline requests that all passengers who were booked for tonight’s BA flight 2232 to Gatwick should now plan to check in tomorrow morning between 6.00am and 8.00 am. The American Airlines flights from Miami and New York’s JFK, along with Delta’s service from JFK will all arrive as scheduled this evening and depart tomorrow morning as per normal.
Airport Operations warned that due to hurricane-related damage to the FAA radar, flights departing Bermuda might experience minor delays whilst technicians continue with restoration efforts.
Those looking to travel are urged to contact their respective airlines for flight updates.
Meanwhile, Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Bill Hanbury said: “Once again Bermuda has shown it is built to last in the face of severe weather like Hurricane Gonzalo.
“The cooperation of the public and private sectors along with the tenacity of Bermuda’s people are putting this Island paradise back on its feet at incredible speed. All of us are ready to get back to work doing what we do best: welcoming visitors.”
A BTA spokesman said the majority of hotel properties in Bermuda were open and able to accept guests.
“Visitors with trips planned to Bermuda should contact their airline and hotel to confirm the specifics of their travel arrangements,” added the spokesman.
“Cruise ship calls to the Island scheduled for today and tomorrow have been cancelled as a result of Hurricane Gonzalo. The Celebrity Infinity remains on schedule for her arrival on Wednesday.
“Public ferry service has resumed its normal schedule and bus service will begin once a roads assessment of all routes is completed.”
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