In readiness for Hurricane Irma which is set to make landfall on Sunday, all the Major airlines in the region have already ceased operations. The last flight out left the Miami International Airport on Friday evening and was an Air Europa flight destined for Madrid.

The closure came after major airlines evacuated as many people as they could out of the Hurricane's way, while also giving their staff ample time to prepare for the storm. It was expected that by late Saturday, all operations would have come to a standstill across all the airports in Florida.

Extreme weather

According to meteorologists, Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall on Saturday night bringing with it gusts of winds with speeds of up to 127 mph. This has forced Airline companies also to get their aircraft away from the airport as such powerful winds can lift stationary and empty planes off the ground.

Irma has caused immense damage in St. Maarten in the Caribbean where it has already hit. The airport was left in ruins and is a major destination for US and European carriers.

Governor Rick Scott said that what Florida is about to experience has never been seen in the state's history before, and stressed that it was a life-threatening situation.

Busy airspace

This past week saw an extremely busy Florida airspace with thousands scrambling to leave before the hurricane hit.

On Thursday evening, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), was left with no choice but to announce an increase in the space between flights.

The move was aimed at enabling the FAA to manage better the already crowded skies and the most affected flights were from Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The flight grounding in Florida comes just two weeks after Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas, shutting down operations in Houston's busiest airports.

Shutdown duration

According to American Airlines, which is the biggest carrier on the Miami-Fort Lauderdale route, the shutdown period remains uncertain. The airline which commands a 38 percent market share, said the resumption of normal schedules did not only depend on the airport's condition after Irma but also on the ability of their staff to get to work.

According to the FAA, air traffic controllers will remain on duty and will have to take shelter in nearby buildings and lower levels of the control tower. This will ensure that they can resume work immediately the storm passes.

Once wind speeds reach 55 mph, no aircraft can take off or be able to land.