Delta Air Lines canceled and delayed flights Friday as it grappled with a deadly shooting at its terminal in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and a winter storm at its biggest hub in Atlanta.
Flight disruptions persisted for the remainder of the day after a gunman opened fire in the baggage claim area at Terminal 2 of the Fort Lauderdale airport, killing five people and wounding eight before being arrested.
No Delta employees were harmed, the airline said, but it sent a care team to the Florida station to assist families and friends of customers and employees who may have been affected.
“The thoughts and prayers of the entire Delta family are with the people of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County, and those involved in the tragic events today,” Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, a sleet- and snow-producing storm was bearing down on the southeastern United States, disrupting Delta’s hub in Atlanta and rippling across its system.
Delta flew a de-icing crew from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, the airline’s second-biggest hub and its poster-child facility for winter weather events, to help its 240-person Atlanta ground operations crew.
There were more than 500 flight cancellations across the U.S. as the storm swept through the South, creating icy conditions. The storm will affect about two dozen states on its march from the Pacific to Atlantic oceans.
Delta pre-emptively canceled 350 flights between Friday evening and Saturday when the brunt of the storm was expected to hit Atlanta. A handful of flights to and from MSP were among those canceled due to the storm. The carrier, as well as others like Southwest, American and United, issued travel waivers for flights to and from several south central and southeastern cities.
Airport station crews with more winter weather experience, like Delta’s MSP and Detroit hubs, have “go teams” prepared to fly out to warmer-weather airports ahead of a winter storm. Crews from every airport are trained in de-icing annually but may need help when a large system blows into town. More than a dozen Delta employees from MSP arrived Friday afternoon in Atlanta.