ORLANDO, Fla. - Flights bringing people from storm-ravaged Puerto Rico to Central Florida have begun to land at Orlando International Airport.
But Southwest Airlines has canceled all of its flights to the recovering island, citing issues at the airport in San Juan.
The company issued the following statement about offering flights to the island:
Airport conditions at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) remain poor and authority to operate flights into/out of SJU is heavily restricted, following the impact of Hurricane Maria. As such, our scheduled flights to/from San Juan (SJU) remain suspended. Please do not attempt to come to the SJU airport at this time. We will continue to monitor conditions at the airport and local infrastructure at SJU and provide updates as information becomes available. For specific flight information, please check flight status information.
One JetBlue flight landed from San Juan at OIA Saturday evening, bring dozens, including many with children and those with no place to stay, to Orlando.
“It’s devastating,” said Preciosa Guzman, who lives on the island.
Hurricane Maria has left much of Puerto Rico in ruins, which is what’s prompted so many to leave for the mainland U.S.
Many on the JetBlue flight wanted to hug and hold hands after landing shortly before 6 p.m.
"Everything is totally destroyed,” said Renata Xavier.
She said she moved to Puerto Rico from Brazil in August because she wanted her 7-year-old daughter, Isabela, to grow up on the island with family.
But after Maria, she has to wait and figure out what to do next.
"Now, it's not the time,” she said.
Passengers on the flight said it’s hard to find food and it’s nearly impossible to contact the outside world.
"No water, no electricity, no Wi-Fi, no cell service,” said Marquett Burton, who does business in Puerto Rico.
Burton said getting back to his second home in Central Florida wasn’t easy.
“I had three different airlines with three different flights cancelled 17 times,” he said.
All but two flights departing OIA for San Juan were canceled Saturday.
Watch: Hurricane Maria Damage