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Approaching hurricane forces widespread air, train cancellations

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) -- Here are some of the latest travel-related developments stemming from Hurricane Irene:

AIR TRAVEL

Major airlines -- including US Airways, American, United, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and AirTran -- dropped ticket-change fees for passengers scheduled to fly to or from many cities along the East Coast this weekend and early next week.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced Friday night that five airports it operates -- John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark Liberty, Teterboro and Stewart -- would be closed as of noon Saturday to all arriving international and domestic flights.

"The five airports will remain open for departing flights pending further updates," the agency said, adding that the decision to halt arrivals is being done "to avoid stranding passengers at its airports when the region's mass transit systems suspend service."

By Friday night, United and Continental airlines had canceled 2,300 flights for Saturday and Sunday, the carriers said in a joint statement.

The two airlines -- which merged last year -- will halt their operations Saturday at Newark Liberty, Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, and will likewise suspend regional service via United Express, Continental Express and Continental Connection to and from these locales.

United and Continental will suspend operations on Saturday at the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; and Norfolk, Virginia, airports. The airlines will take a similar step Sunday in Albany, New York; Boston; Hartford, Connecticut; Manchester, New Hampshire; Portland, Maine; Providence, Rhode Island; and White Plains, New York.

Delta Air Lines plans to cancel about 1,300 Delta and Delta Connection flights between Saturday and Monday, according to spokesman Anthony Black.

On its Twitter feed, Delta said that all flights to and from LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy, Newark and Philadelphia airports on Sunday have been canceled.

American Airlines canceled all Washington-area flights from noon Saturday through noon Sunday, according to spokesman Ed Martelle. The airline also canceled 32 Friday flights.

JetBlue has canceled almost 900 flights in the Northeast ahead of the storm. Most of those are Sunday and Monday flights out of the New York metro area and Boston, spokesman Mateo Lleras said.

Air Tran has canceled 265 flights from Saturday to Monday, according to spokeswoman Judy Graham-Weaver. That includes flights into and out of the following locales: Allentown/Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Baltimore-Washington International in Maryland; Boston; New York's LaGuardia airport; Newport News, Virginia; Philadelphia; Portland, Maine; Richmond, Virginia; Washington's Reagan airport; Washington Dulles airport in northern Virginia; and White Plains, New York.

Southwest announced on its website that it would not have flights to and from several airports on the East Coast. That includes no Southwest service Saturday and Sunday from Newark, LaGuardia, Long Island-Islip and Philadelphia airports. The airline won't fly to or from the Baltimore/Washington airport; Norfolk, Virginia; or Washington-Dulles in northern Virginia on Saturday. Similarly, there will be no Southwest flights Sunday to Boston; Hartford; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Providence, Rhode Island.

US Airways is planning significant cancellations in the Washington metro area starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, carrying into Sunday. Philadelphia, New York and New England routes will see significant schedule reductions Sunday, according to an airline spokesman.

Baltimore/Washington International is "monitoring terminal and airfield drainage, checking generators and securing any equipment that may become airborne as a result of high winds," said Paul J. Wiedefeld, the airport's executive director.

Albany International Airport in New York is safeguarding the terminal, airfield and aircraft. "Our goal is to ensure the safety of travelers, staff and equipment and be prepared to resume full operations by Monday morning," said John A. O'Donnell, CEO of the Albany County Airport Authority.

CRUISE SHIPS

Weekend cruise departures from Northeast ports such as New York may be delayed, CruiseCritic.com reported. More than 20 cruise ships changed their itineraries because of the hurricane.

North Carolina ports have closed in Morehead City and Wilmington.

Cruise ports in Nassau and Grand Bahama reopened Thursday evening, and ships are anticipated to resume calls on Saturday, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation said.

PUBLIC TRANSIT

The New York Metropolitan Transit Authority will begin a system-wide shutdown beginning at noon Saturday, the New York governor's office says.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will halt all service beginning at 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says New Jersey Transit will suspend all rail, light rail, bus and Access Link Paratransit service in the N.J. Transit system beginning at noon Saturday. That includes trains into and out of the Meadowland Sports Complex, where the New York Jets and New York Giants are set to play a preseason game starting at 2 p.m. Saturday.

North Carolina rail transportation is canceled for Saturday. Limited passenger train travel will resume between Raleigh and Charlotte on Sunday, according to the governor's office.

BUSES, TRAINS AND ROADS

Following up on widespread cancellations announced earlier, Amtrak said Friday evening that none of its trains would be operating Sunday and there would be even fewer routes in service Saturday because of the storm.

Amtrak's cancellations include service along the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston; the Keystone Corridor between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; the Empire Service between New York and Albany, New York; the Vermonter running between Washington and St. Albans, Vermont; the Piedmont Service between Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina; Northeast Regional trains in Virginia; and several "long-distance trains."

Greyhound bus lines canceled some Friday trips from New York, Washington, Richmond and Raleigh to destinations along the Atlantic Coast.

Southbound lanes of New Jersey's Garden State Parkway will close past Exit 98 after 8 p.m. Friday evening, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced.

There was no eastbound traffic on routes 47 and 347 in Cape May County, with all those lanes instead being used for westbound traffic as of 6 p.m. Friday.

Starting at 8 a.m. Friday, tolls were suspended temporarily on the Garden State Parkway south of the Raritan River and the Atlantic City Expressway.

New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission announced Friday evening that, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, it will dispatch more cabs than normal into low-lying areas in New York where Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered evacuations. The drivers and riders will have a special "zone fare" system and other new rules, including mandating that pets be allowed on board and encouraging people to ride in groups.