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Superstorm Sandy: Airports resume limited operations, 3000 flights still cancelled

Stranded travellers take in flight cancellationsAfter two days of airport closures, some airports along the US East Coast were resuming limited operations. Newark Liberty International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport were both reopened, but LaGuardia Airport remained closed because it suffered more damage. Due to only limited operations underway yesterday, there were still some 3,000 flight cancellations.

Superstorm Sandy has grounded over 18,000 flights in the Northeast, affecting domestic and international services. What’s worse is that it could be next week before flight schedules get back to normal. However, JetBlue Airways was the first passenger flight to land at JFK airport yesterday at 7:04am, and FedEx was the first aircraft to land at Newark airport at 7:12am.

On top of this, other airports on the East Coast are resuming operations as well. On Tuesday, Delta Air Lines started flying from Washington Dulles, Reagan and Boston airports again. A spokesman said the carrier was planning to resume flights from JFK yesterday. And Tuesday afternoon saw services slowly returning to Philadelphia International Airport.

Flights from Asia were beginning to resume to the East Coast on Wednesday as well, with services from Narita International Airport in Tokyo to Washington, DC and New York. However, a Japan/American Airlines flight from Haneda Airport to New York was cancelled. Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong says that it will resume services today after cancelling seven to JFK through yesterday. Asiana Airlines and Korean Air in South Korea said they will resume a normal schedule to the US East Coast from yesterday or today.

Superstorm Sandy has left a mass of destruction after bringing unprecedented weather to the Northeast of the US. Flooding has overwhelmed many cities across the region, and the subway system in New York was still shut down. Despite this, commuters were still beginning to return to work. The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel that connects Brooklyn and Manhattan remained closed, along with the Holland Tunnel that connects New York with new Jersey. However, other bridges to the city were open, and its buses were running for free.

Millions of people have been left without power across the Northeast – with four million in New York and New Jersey alone. Consolidated Edison, an energy provider, says it could be the weekend before Brooklyn and Manhattan get their power turned back on, while other New Yorkers may have to wait even longer. Power outages are affecting homes and businesses from the Carolinas north to the Canadian border and then west as far as Wisconsin.

It’s reported that up to 72 people have died – though this figure is expected to continue rising. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that the city will get through the days to come by standing together, helping each other, comforting strangers and getting the city back on its feet.

Despite many international media outlets talking about the devastation in New York, the eye of Superstorm Sandy actually crossed right over New Jersey. President Barack Obama toured the state this week and talked about the government’s steps to get water and generators in place, as well as plans for navy ships and military planes to be used to move assets. He has ordered his staff to respond to any state or local official within 15 minutes of a call for help. If officials need something, he says his staff will find a way to say ‘yes’. The government is there for the long haul. He added that the whole country has been watching the storm, and they know how hard New Jersey was hit.

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