Florida Airports Slowly Return to Normal

 - October 3, 2022, 12:05 PM
After Florida's Naples Airport was inundated with flood waters last week by Hurricane Ian, the airport was back in operation again just 48 hours later. Resulting electrical problems with the airport's runway lighting and navigational aids, is limiting usage to daylight hours until further notice. (Photo: Naples Airport Authority)

As the remnants of now-tropical storm Ian bring rain and winds to the Northeast U.S. following flooding in the mid-Atlantic region, areas in Florida remain devastated from last week’s Category 4 hurricane, which claimed approximately 100 lives and left millions without power. Many airports across the center of the state, from the Gulf Coast where it made landfall to the Atlantic Coast, continued their clean-ups and reopenings, in some cases for humanitarian flights only.

In heavily impacted Fort Myers, the Lee County Port Authority told AIN that both of its airports—Southwest Florida International (KRSW) and general aviation-only Page Field (KFMY)—have power and are receiving military and humanitarian flights only. KFMY is anticipated to fully open tomorrow to civil traffic, while KRSW is expected to resume limited daylight operations on Wednesday.

Over the weekend, Sheltair reported that all of its affected bases in the state—at Tampa International, Lakeland Linder International, St Pete-Clearwater International, Albert Whitted, Orlando Executive, Melbourne Orlando International, and Jacksonville International airports—are now fully operational, while its Daytona Beach International Airport is still handling only military and humanitarian aid flights.

Naples Airport, which instituted a permission-required landing plan over the weekend, has now resumed full operations but only during daylight hours from 7 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. until further notice due to damage to its runway lighting system and navigational aids.  

Patient Airlift Services (PALs) SkyHope, a nonprofit organization, is offering non-emergency flights to Naples residents and their families who need transport to and from the area. The group is made up of local volunteer pilots who will provide flights to aid in the disaster relief efforts. All flights will operate through Naples Airport. "As our community recovers from the devastating effects of Hurricane Ian, it is our honor to provide free flights to members of our community who need it," said Naples-based pilot and PALS SkyHope board member Scott Ashton.