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September 9, 2019

Construction at San Francisco Airport Runway Leads to more than 450 Flight Cancellations and Postponements while British Airways Cancels 100% of Flights due to Pilot Strike


The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has closed one of its major runways for repairs over the weekend. Construction of the runway has caused hundred of flight delays and cancellations that may continue until September 27, when the runway reopens. On Saturday, 109 flights were canceled with 274 delays while 131 flights were canceled with 328 delayed on Sunday. 

SFO has released a press release confirming that Runway 28L will be under construction starting September 7th and will construct a new base layer below the runway surface. The portion of the airway that is being reconstructed is in the area where two other heavily trafficked takeoff runways intersect. This 20-day shutdown will allow construction crews to build a 1,900-foot section that intersects runways 1R and 1L, which will also shut down at separate times during the construction period. 

The airlines have also agreed on reducing their number of flights to limit the length of flight delays leading to a 13 percent decrease in flight activity. Many airlines have changed their departure schedule or offered additional services to travelers in response to the runway shutdown:

  • United Airlines issued a travel waiver last month allowing customers to change flights or connect to different cities without a fee.
  • American Airlines has adjusted its flight schedules at SFO for the duration of the runway closure and have notified customers that full refunds will be offered if the schedule does not work for the customer.
  • Delta Airlines does not offer travel waivers but will extend “situational flexibility” to assist customers who have delayed flights.
  • Alaska Airlines warns customers about flight delays and rescheduling but has not mentioned travel waivers.
  • Southwest Airlines will not charge a change fee, but has also reduced and rescheduled many flights.

British Airways has confirmed the cancellation of all flights during the pilots’ 48-hour strike, starting on September 9, as they have no way to predict how many pilots will work during this period. Pilots are demanding a share of the company and a raise. If no resolution is reached, another strike may occur on September 27.



Construction of the major runway at SFO will take place between September 7 to September 21 and will require travelers to think ahead:

  • SFO airport suggests travelers book early morning flights before 9 a.m. during the runway closure. Higher delay possibilities will occur between Wednesday through Friday.
  • Expect flight delays and arrive early at the airport in case of any changes.
  • Construction may cause an increase in traffic volume near the Old Bayshore Highway as supply trucks move in and out of the area.
  • Drivers passing through the area should find alternative routes or plan to leave early with SFO Airport Police conducting traffic control.
  • Make sure to check with your airlines about your rights as a customer and the policy of the airline regarding this situation.

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