Palm Trees in Hurricane
Palm Trees in Hurricane

Buoyed by Flagship, Florida Airports Prevail Against Hurricane Ian

Categories: Aviation, Library, Orlando, Safety, Tampa


Two of the most heavily trafficked airports in Florida, Tampa International Airport (TPA) and Orlando International Airport (MCO) are consistently recognized for their commitment to passenger satisfaction. In fact, Tampa was ranked #1 among large airports and Orlando was among the top 10 mega airports in J.D. Power’s 2022 North America Airport Satisfaction Study.

Passengers depend on these airports to maintain clean, safe facilities and minimize disruptions to travel in the event of an emergency such as a hurricane.

The Challenge

Hurricane Ian – a category 4 hurricane and one of the strongest in Florida history – made landfall at the end of September, forcing both Tampa International Airport and Orlando International Airport to close their doors to the traveling public. Without anyone on-site to monitor the situation and address issues in real time, the airports risked suffering major damage to their facilities.

Rather than endure that risk, both airports turned to Flagship to keep their facilities clean through the shutdown and assist in their goal of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.

The Solution

Flagship relied on its expertise in disaster mitigation and recovery to support Tampa and Orlando through these irregular operations. From experience, Flagship knows that mobilizing quickly is key to reducing facilities risk. The team closely monitored weather conditions and activated its emergency response teams the moment Ian was upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane.

Comprised of Flagship managers and volunteer employees, the emergency response team at each site sprang into action immediately. First steps included verifying that equipment was fully functional and gathering supplies – such as sleeping bags, food, water, first-aid kits – for the employees staying on site.

As the storm intensified, employees worked tirelessly to contain water leaks, maintain restroom cleanliness, suction water out of carpets, wipe away dust being blown in from the air ducts, and clean up broken glass.

Most importantly, the teams maintained close communications with each airport and coordinated with their leaders to ensure that TPA and MCO were prepared for a smooth reopening.

The Outcome

Even in the face of disaster, TPA and MCO lived up to their reputation as two of the best airports in North America. Within three days of closing, both airports had fully reopened their doors and begun servicing passengers, including representatives from humanitarian
organizations delivering much-needed aid.

A long-time partner to these airports, Flagship went above and beyond to protect their facilities from serious devastation and swiftly repair what little damage occurred. Ultimately, these actions helped reduce downtime and allowed volunteers and supplies to continue flowing into the state.

Airport employees, their families, and all those impacted by Hurricane Ian have Flagship’s unwavering support as they begin the long road to recovery. If you’re interested in helping hurricane victims, please consider the following resources:

Florida Airports Hurricane Ian Client Story PDF

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