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Hurricane Sandy Grounds Flights Across Globe

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Nearly 16,000 flights had been canceled along the US East Coast as of Tuesday morning due to Hurricane Sandy, and more disruptions are expected as major metropolitan airports remain shuttered in the wake of the storm’s destructive path.

Nearly 16,000 flights had been canceled along the US East Coast as of Tuesday morning due to Hurricane Sandy, and more disruptions are expected as major metropolitan airports remain shuttered in the wake of the storm’s destructive path.

Sandy had forced more than 15,700 flight cancelations as of Tuesday morning, according to the airline and flight-tracking website FlightAware.com. That number is expected to rise Tuesday and Wednesday, the website said.

The three major airports in New York City, which accont for about a quarter of all US air travel, remained closed Tuesday because of flooding. The airports expect to have an update later in the day on a possible timetable for opening their doors, according to FlightAware.com.

The three main airports servicing New York City—JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark—each had nearly 1,000 flights canceled Tuesday, FlightAware.com said.

Flight cancelations due to Sandy this week have left travelers stranded from London to Moscow to Hong Kong. Russian carrier Aeroflot grounded its Moscow-New York City flights Monday and Tuesday due to the hurricane, and its flights between the Russian capital and Washington, were canceled Monday and Tuesday as well.

Aeroflot flights to other US destinations remained unchanged, the airline said in a statement on Monday.

The ripple effect from a shutdown of such a major transportation hub as New York could cost US airlines up to $500 million in lost revenues through Tuesday alone, said Richard Herbst, a former airline pilot and founder of the website AirlineFinancials.com.

“You have foreign and US carriers that have airplanes parked all over the world because they could not get here to the United States,” Herbst said. “They’re parked for two or three days getting no revenue, but they still have a lot of expenses.”

The parked planes disrupted passengers’ travel plans throughout the world as well.

Muscovite Vera Mashchenko had planned to fly Aeroflot to Los Angeles with a connection in New York City but saw her first trip to the United States delayed when the airline informed her the flight was canceled due to Sandy.

“Now it’s an extra day, and we have to fly through Istanbul,” Mashchenko said. “What a blast.”

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