Limited flights resume to battered Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria leaves trail of devastation
Hurricane Maria leaves trail of devastation

A handful of flights are returning to Puerto Rico, two days after Hurricane Maria battered the island.

The largest airport there, Luis Muñoz Marín International, reopened to some commercial traffic on Friday. Aerostar Puerto Rico, which manages the airport, said it suffered only limited damage.

It will be able to handle only eight flights on Friday. The airport will handle 10 flights on Saturday and Sunday before expanding to about 20 a day at the start of next week. International flights will not resume until Monday.

American Airlines (AAL) was the first U.S. airline to restore service. A flight from Miami to San Juan took off just before 7 a.m. ET, about an hour later than scheduled.

Besides passengers, American said it would fly much-needed supplies, including food, water, lanterns, cots, tarps, fans, batteries, boots and generators, to Puerto Rico for use by its employees and their families. Authorities in Puerto Rico say it could be months before power is restored.

JetBlue operated two relief flights to the island. One carried supplies. Another carried New York state officials, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and emergency personnel who will assist with recovery efforts. Included on the flight are 10 engineers, planners, technical supervisors and translators from the New York State Power Authority to assess how to get power restored.

Related: Puerto Rico: Hurricane Maria hammers an economy that can't take it

Southwest (LUV) and Delta (DAL) say they will resume flights Saturday. United (UAL) and JetBlue (JBLU) say they are evaluating the situation and don't know when commercial flights will resume.

Flight service is even less certain to other parts of the Caribbean. American says operations remain suspended to Turks and Caicos, St. Croix, St. Maarten and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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