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Hurricane Laura: United Airlines cancels flights, cargo delayed

Southwest, American also adjust schedules

United Airlines aircraft operating earlier this year during good weather at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

(Updated Aug. 26, 10:15 P.M. with details on American Airlines)

A total of 414 flights were canceled at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston as of Wednesday afternoon as Hurricane Laura, now a Category 4 storm, bears down on the Texas coast.

The Houston Airport System also said on its website that 66 flights have been canceled at Hobby Airport.

United Airlines has canceled more than 600 flights across its network, including all flights through its hub at Houston Intercontinental Airport, for Wednesday and Thursday. Flight cancellations also impact businesses shipping cargo with the carrier.

The number of flights canceled is much fewer than normal because airlines are only flying limited schedules during the COVID-19 crisis. United is operating about 230 flights per day through Houston compared to 545 segments per day before the pandemic, according to spokesman David Gonzalez.

Earlier Wednesday, United Cargo said it was restricting reservations and transport of medical, funeral and temperature-controlled shipments at Houston Intercontinental.

Southwest Airlines proactively suspended flights from Houston Hobby through at least 1 p.m. on Thursday. The airline will make schedule adjustments as necessary to ensure customer and employee safety, a spokesperson said.

American Airlines canceled 19 flights today and has 36 cancellations planned for Thursday, spokeswoman Whitney Zastrow said.

In a related development, logistics provider Dunavent said its distribution group in Houston closed operations at 3 p.m. Wednesday so employees could find shelter. The company will have minimal staff onsite Thursday but said it expects to resume full operations on Friday.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals and a Silver Medal from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government and trade coverage, and news analysis. He was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He won Environmental Journalist of the Year from the Seahorse Freight Association in 2014 and was the group's 2013 Supply Chain Journalist of the Year. In December 2022, Eric was voted runner up for Air Cargo Journalist by the Seahorse Freight Association. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. He has appeared on Marketplace, ABC News and National Public Radio to talk about logistics issues in the news. Eric is based in Vancouver, Washington. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]