Airlines cancel over 250 flights on Typhoon Maria

TAIPEITaiwan warned businesses and schools to prepare for extreme conditions as Severe Typhoon Maria closes in on the island, disrupting flights and curtailing futures trading.

The typhoon could bring strong winds and heavy rains to northern and central Taiwan, Central Weather Bureau said in statement yesterday. Several local governments in the northern Taiwan including Taipei City, the island’s political and business capital, have announced closures of offices and schools from 4pm yesterday.

Airlines, including Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, Air China Ltd and EVA Airways Corp, have cancelled 161 international flights and 117 on domestic routes as of 10am yesterday, Taipei-based Civil Aeronautics Administration said by text message.

Taiwan Futures Exchange had no after-hours trading yesterday.

The weather authority issued a sea warning and a land warning on Monday, advising residents to take precautionary measures given risks of floods and landslides. It was unclear whether the storm will make direct landfall in Taiwan. The weather bureau forecasted it to be at its closest later yesterday and early today.

Maria, with sustained winds of up to 191kph (119mph) and gusts of up to 234kph, was categorised as a typhoon by the US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre. It was 490km east of Yilan on Taiwan’s northeast coast as of 10am yesterday local time, the bureau said. — Bloomberg