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Mon 29 Aug 2011 11:44 AM

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Gulf airlines resume flights to New York after Irene

Emirates, Etihad and Royal Jordanian scrapped flights ahead of tropical storm hitting US

Gulf airlines resume flights to New York after Irene
A man walks across 42nd Street in Times Square in New York on August 28, 2011 as Irene hits the city

Middle East carriers are expected to resume full services to New York by Tuesday as tropical storm Irene hit the city as a category one storm, causing less than expected damage.

Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Royal Jordanian were all forced to cancel flights to America's busiest aviation market as Mayor Bloomberg ordered the closure of JFK airport and shut down the city’s subway. 

Emirates Airline canceled two flights (EK203 and EK204) on 29 August but said its EK201 would be three and a half hours delayed, leaving at midday local time, the airline said on its website.

Flight EK202 from JFK to Dubai on 29 August will operate as originally scheduled, departing at 23:00 from NYC, the Dubai-based carrier added.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways EY101 flight to JFK has been delayed but the following day’s flight is scheduled to leave on time, according to its website.

Royal Jordanian was forced to reschedule its Saturday and Sunday services from Amman to New York, the airline said.

“Flights scheduled to fly to New York on August 27 will depart at 11:00 on August 29 if the airport reopens; the August 28 flight is scheduled to leave on August 29 at 20:00,” the Jordanian carrier said in an emailed statement.

Doha-based Qatar Airways rescheduled all flights to JFK and Washington DC
on 27 August and canceled flights to both destinations on 28. The carrier
resumed a full service on 29 August, it said on its website.

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for 11 states as Hurricane Irene swept across the country. The hurricane has so far killed 18 people and caused an estimated $3bn of damage, much less than earlier estimates for insured losses of $14bn.

In New York, the worst of the storm had passed by around 10am local time on Sunday and the city was spared severe damage. In Manhattan, tropical-storm winds caused flooding in Battery Park and elsewhere, while across the state 370,000 people were left without power.

The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq OMX Group on Sunday both issued statements saying they planned to be open Monday.

The six biggest US airlines have more than 1,500 flights that won’t operate Monday as planes and crew members are repositioned, based on figures from spokesmen. That compares with the US industry’s average of about 31,000 flights on a typical Monday during the summer travel season, according to Houston-based data tracker FlightAware.com.

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

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