People have hopped on private jets to escape Hurricane Ian, Bloomberg reported.
A private jet operator said requests for flights out of Florida grew in the run-up to the storm.
Airports that have stopped commercial operations include Orlando, Naples, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Fort Meyers.
Flexjet, a company that operates private jets, said in comments first provided to Bloomberg and later shared with Insider that requests for flights out of Florida had mounted in the run-up to the storm, with private-aircraft owners planning their escapes over the weekend. It said that some customers had wanted to travel within Florida, to areas not expected to be affected by the storm.
"The request volume coming in has been heavy but manageable," Flexjet said.
It warned that airport closures and whether they sustained damage could impact its ability to access certain locations. The company has a private terminal in Naples on Florida's southwest coast — one of the main areas being battered by the storm.
Magellan Jets is also advertising private jet services to people in Florida. "Need to fly out of Florida?" a page on its website reads. "The sooner a decision is made to fly, the greater our ability will be to match you with favorable availability and pricing."
Bloomberg reported that there had been a surge in private jets flying out of the state, citing data from flight-tracking site FlightAware that showed a 71% increase in private jet flights leaving Tampa, Naples, and Orlando on Monday and Tuesday compared to two weeks ago.
The jets flew to destinations including Chicago, Dallas, and vacation spots like Mexico, Aspen, Colorado, and Nantucket, Massachusetts, Bloomberg reported.
Flexjet told Insider that it had also received requests from people looking to fly into Florida, likely wanting to prepare their homes for the storm, and said that it was prepared for a surge in flights both in and out of Florida after the hurricane.
Flexjet said it had around 200 crewmembers living in Florida who were scheduled to be on duty this week.
"Some are home and want to stay home; some are already out and want to go home; some want to just secure their house and then go out and fly," a company spokesperson said. "We are accommodating every crewmember's request."
Commercial airlines, in contrast, have been staying away from the Sunshine State. A map of routes shared by FlightAware shows bigger aircraft giving Ian a "wide birth" on Tuesday.
Airports that have stopped commercial operations over the past two days include ones in Orlando, Naples, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Fort Meyers. On Wednesday, around 2,000 flights to or from the biggest airports in Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, or Fort Myers were canceled, per data from FlightAware.
Hurricane Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, though it has since been weakened to become a tropical storm. It has brought catastrophic winds, storm surges, and flooding to the state, and has left more than 2.5 million homes in southwest Florida without power. Some local hotels are cutting their rates so that residents can shelter from the storm.
The National Hurricane Center says that there is a danger of "life-threatening" storm surge along the coasts of northeast Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina over Thursday and Friday, as well as strong winds.
It also warned that "widespread, life-threatening catastrophic flooding, with major to record river flooding" was expected to continue in central Florida through to the end of the week.
Read the original article on Business Insider