Hurricane Irma: British Airways cancels flights to the Caribbean as Category 4 storm gathers strength in Atlantic

Delta, Caribbean and American Airlines also affected by storm

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Tuesday 05 September 2017 00:25 BST
Satellite imagery shows Hurricane Irma make landfall

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Gusts of up to 185mph have been predicted for the north-east Caribbean as Hurricane Irma gather strength in the Atlantic. The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) is warning that the eye of Hurricane Irma “will move near or over portions of the northern Leeward Islands Tuesday night and early Wednesday”.

Antigua, Anguilla and the Virgin Islands are likely to be badly affected by high winds as the hurricane progresses west. Puerto Rico, the north coast of the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Cuba could also sustain damage.

The NHC predicts water levels could rise by as much as 9 feet above normal tide levels. "Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves," it says.

The Florida Governor, Rick Scott, has declared a state of emergency for every county in the state “to help state, federal and local governments work together “.

The Foreign Office is warning: "Hurricane Irma is forecast to bring hazardous sea and weather conditions to north eastern parts of the Caribbean from around 6 September; you should follow the advice of the local authorities and any evacuation orders."

British Airways has already started cancelling flights, saying: "As a result of the expected storm caused by Hurricane Irma, we have been advised by Antigua airport authorities that operations will be significantly impacted on Tuesday 5 September.”

BA has cancelled the morning flight from Gatwick to Antigua, which normally continues to the island of Tobago.

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It says: “We are doing all we can to get our customers to their final destinations and some customers will be able to re-book with Caribbean Airlines via Port of Spain or with our partner American Airlines via Miami.

“We are keeping our flights to other Caribbean islands under review, pending the latest information from the airport authorities.”

Virgin is rearranging its Antigua flights on Tuesday, and is allowing passengers due to travel to, from and through Antigua to postpone their journeys until the end of September.

Delta Airlines is allowing passengers booked on Tuesday and Wednesday to San Juan in Puerto Rico, St Croix and St Thomas in the Virgin Islands and St Maarten to postpone their journeys without penalty.

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