Tallahassee Regional Airport Keeping Eye on Storm

Tallahassee Regional Airport and airline officials kept a watchful eye on Hurricane Dennis on Friday. Although no flight cancellations were reported, the storm's potential path was causing concern.

"We've had no cancellations or delays from commercial airlines," said Jim Durwin, airport operations manager, "but we have implemented portions of our hurricane emergency plan."

Dennis rolled across parts of Cuba and was headed for the Gulf of Mexico on Friday night. It was expected to make landfall some time late Sunday between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle.

Durwin said airport personnel had been putting fuel in emergency generators and vehicles and taking other precautionary measures. About 70 flights to and from Tallahassee were scheduled for today.

"We are going to keep our normal schedule for now," he said. "We will look at things again (Saturday) afternoon."

Phil Reed, marketing vice president for Pinnacle Airlines, which operates Northwest Airlink, the regional carrier for Northwest Airlines, said the number of passengers flying out of Florida has increased as Dennis draws closer.

"We have made some determinations to put extra seats along the Gulf Coast to allow passengers who want to come out early to do so," Reed said.

He said Northwest Airlink flights out of Panama City, Pensacola and Mobile, Ala., were showing more passengers Friday.

Bob Van Riper, general manager and vice president of FlightLine Group Inc., which operates out of Tallahassee, said an increased number of private and military aircraft were stopping in Tallahassee to take on fuel Friday as they moved from the storm's projected path.

"We haven't had a lot of (local) aircraft leave yet," Van Riper said.

If wind speeds in Tallahassee are predicted to hit 65 mph, he said, local aircraft will be moved to St. Augustine to avoid damage.

Von Riper said FlightLine serves about 110 private aircraft based in Tallahassee.

US Airways had already canceled late flights Friday to and from Key West and planned to review flight schedules as the storm moved north, said Amy Kudwa, an airline spokeswoman.

Continental Airlines officials also said they were monitoring the situation. Delta Air Lines officials did not return calls seeking comment.

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