Atlanta-based, Delta Air Lines will donate $1 million USD to the American Red Cross as part of a massive fund raising effort in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The news comes as Delta starts to slowly get its operations back on track Tuesday. Nonetheless, approximately 140 flights are expected to be cancelled out of Delta’s 5,500 scheduled departures today.
Ignoring the remnants of Irma, Delta says that “good operational weather” is expected across much of the U.S. over the next few days. The airline will be hoping to get back up to speed after the most powerful Atlantic Ocean storm on record grounded thousands of flights over the weekend.
Delta operations at its hub in Atlanta was severely impacted when Irma, by then a tropical depression moved across Georgia on Monday. In the wake of a mass evacuation from Florida in the days preceding Irma, Delta will be laying on additional flights to Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando in the Sunshine State. Many services will be upgraded to widebody aircraft due to demand.
Delta says it has earmarked $1 million USD to help the American Red Cross in its aid effort for survivors of the hurricane. A further $100,000 USD is to be donated to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). That money will go straight into funding relief efforts already underway in the hardest hit regions, including St. Maarten and Turks and Caicos.
On Monday, Delta sent an aid flight to St Thomas, loaded with much-needed emergency supplies. The Boeing 757 aircraft was filled with supplies of water, non-perishable food and dry goods. Satellite phones and chargers were also sent to help the recovery effort. On its return, over 150 U.S. citizens were evacuated to Detroit.
As an Annual Disaster Giving Program partner, Delta has already donated $1 million USD to the American Red Cross this year. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey which hit Houston, Texas in August, Delta donated a further $250,000. The airline is also encouraging its passengers to donate through the SkyWish campaign.
“The destruction left by Hurricane Irma is massive, and we want to do more to help those in need,” explained Tad Hutcheson, Delta’s managing director for Community Engagement. He continued: “The most effective way we can help is by investing in organizations involved in disaster relief year-round.”
Cancellations and delays are expected to last several more days but Delta says the worst is now over. Yesterday, Delta grounded 1,100 flights and a further 65 flights had to be diverted as Atlanta suffered wind gusts of up to 60mph.
Delta has issued travel waivers for around three dozen destinations up to September 20th. A separate waiver for the islands of St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Turks and Caicos is valid up to October 31st.