SAA comes to the rescue as US-bound flights grounded
As hurricane Sandy brought all flights in and out of New York to a halt yesterday, SA Airways was able to transport passengers to Washington late last night.
Spokesman Tlali Tlali yesterday said the airline was flying a bigger aircraft to accommodate US-bound passengers who could not fly out earlier because their flights had been cancelled.
"We will make use of an A340/600 Airbus, which can carry up to 317 passengers,'' said Tlali.
The flight was scheduled to leave South Africa at midnight and, according to Tlali, ''the weather conditions, based on forecast, are expected to have subsided when the aircraft arrives".
Hundreds of passengers were stranded after SAA flights to New York and Washington were cancelled on Sunday and yesterday.
South African Dipak Patel, who has been training for three months to run in the New York Marathon, said he was worried he would not make it in time.
The marathon is expected to go ahead as planned on Sunday, according to the New York Marathon website. Patel said: "I am on standby for Wednesday and Thursday. Having convinced all my friends to sponsor me with $4300 for charity, I really hope I get to run."
Karen Kaplan, a South African living on New York's Upper West Side, said her children had been sent home from school.
Kaplan, who lives in an apartment on the Hudson River, told The Times yesterday that she was watching the rising waves from her window.
"The wind is picking up. The water is so choppy. We just hope the power does not go out."
She said the family had stocked up on food and batteries, and charged their iPads and phones.
Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesman Nelson Kgwete said: "We do have South Africans who are spending an extra day or two in New York because of the storm. It is hard to work out the exact numbers, but those who need consular assistance can contact our consulate in New York."