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Miami, Ft. Lauderdale Airports Seriously Damaged From Irma; Crews Working Diligently To Restore Order

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Following the destruction of Hurricane Irma, the assessment of the aftermath is already underway.

Officials at Miami International Airport are assessing the damage from Hurricane Irma.

In some areas of the major airport, the damage is substantial.

"Some parts more than less," MIA Spokesman Greg Chin said. "We've walked the terminal and we've seen some pretty significant damage in different parts of the airport. There are some water leaks in all our of concourses, some more than others."

The majority of the airport has been due to the amount of rain suddenly dropped on the area and less about the wind.

"This is just water coming in from the storm, more on the south end of the airport. Not the north," Chin said.

The impact in some areas is significant but it shouldn't have a major impact on resuming most normal activities at MIA.

There is a good amount of water damage all over airport and those parts will need to be vacuumed and cleaned.

"Gates closest to water damage will have to be closed off," Chin said.

Another issue at the airport is a large amount of cruise passengers who were brought back into port early and found that their flights for the coming days had been cancelled due to Hurricane Irma.

"We understand the cruise lines wants to get these people to the airport and try to get them back on flights and back home," Chin explained. "Unfortunatrely, most could not be rebooked at the time."

Despite being multiple delays for cruise passengers, the airlines worked diligently to accommodate the passengers and get them home.

"Thanks to American Airlines and other airlines who added extra flights, actually American actually added 21 extra flights, we were able to rebook them and get everyone on their way on Friday."

Stranded passengers went from being in several thousands to few dozen.

Crews will be waiting for daylight to assess the damage around the airport, both inside and out, before a more specific timetable can be calculated as to when the airport will be fully operational again.

While MIA is optimistic they can partially reopen starting Tuesday, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport's timetable is in limbo.

"That's the million dollar question right now," said FLL spokesperson Greg Meyer. "We do not know what time or day we will open."

The airport suffered flooding damage, there were roof leaks and air conditioning units went down.

As of Sunday night, there were no broken windows, but airport officials were walking the terminals for a preliminary damage assessment.

"There is a huge infrastructure to the airport as you know. We have runway lighting systems, we have taxi ways, jet bridges that were all tied town prior to the arrival of Irma," Meyer explained. "All that stuff has to be undone and assessed and evaluated to make sure it's at 100 percent operation."

Another concern is the airport is facing is the four cruise ships docking at Port Everglades on Tuesday.

"We are in communications with Port Everglades, not directly with the cruise ships. But they all know our concerns and our challenges," Meyer said. "We want to make sure that what they don't do is come to port and then unload all those passengers, bring them to the airport when we don't have the aircraft to take them home."

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