Can an earthquake cause flight cancelations?

Last updated on September 18, 2023

Can an earthquake cause flight cancellations? Absolutely! Earthquakes of any size can disrupt flights and airports, causing everything from flight delays and cancellations to complete airport closures with the worst-case scenario being a full evacuation.

Flight Delays Caused By Earthquake

Earthquakes can cause delays simply due to the disruption in air traffic control and FAA regulations for aircraft operations. A general rule of thumb is that if the earthquake has registered above a 5.0 magnitude, the FAA will typically suspend flights for up to two hours throughout the region that was affected. Other delays following an earthquake can also be attributed to infrastructure damage at airports and damaged runways. Usually within 24 hours of a natural disaster, the FAA releases notices to the airlines operating in the area, advising on flight delays and cancellations. So while the weather may be clear, passengers should still expect flight delays, and in some cases, flight cancellations.

Closed Airports After Earthquake

In rare cases, airports can be closed for an extended period of time after an earthquake. Depending on the magnitude, the affected region can have significant structural damage that can impair the infrastructure of the airport. This can especially be the case with smaller, regional airports where damage from the earthquake may be compounded by other factors like a lack of adequate funding. Airports will typically remain closed until personnel can assess the damage and deem it safe for operation.

Is It Safe to Fly During an Earthquake?

The risk posed to passengers by flying during an earthquake is generally low. Aircrafts are thoroughly tested and certified by government agencies to mitigate the risk of any earthquake-related issues. Additionally, modern aircrafts have been designed to fly and automatically operate in turbulent regions of the world, making it unlikely that an earthquake would have any impact on the aircraft itself. However, that being said, the best practice is to always check the advisories of the affected area before flying in the event of an earthquake. In conclusion, earthquakes can cause flight cancellations and airport closures. Aircrafts are designed to fly during an earthquake, but advisories should always be checked before taking off to ensure safety.

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