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Airlines Expect LaGuardia to Reopen Thursday

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- (TheStreet) -- Airlines have targeted Thursday to begin to resume reasonable service levels at Newark and Kennedy airports, and said they expect LaGuardia Airport to reopen on Thursday.

Newark and New York Kennedy airports have already opened for limited service. By mid-morning Wednesday, flights had landed at the two airports. Most carriers are planning to begin to ramp up service at Newark and Kennedy, bringing in aircraft that can fly out on Thursday.

Airlines are also eyeing Thursday to begin offering limited numbers of flights at LaGuardia, although the airport has not yet reopened in the aftermath of flooding brought on by Hurricane Sandy. Service is also being restored at other East Coast airports.

American (AAMRQ.PK) and US Airways (LCC) both plan to begin flying from Newark and Kennedy on Thursday. US Airways has said its flights will begin after midday on Thursday.

"Today we are on target to resume operations in most cities (among) the nine to 12 where the storm forced closings," said American spokesman Kent Powell. "It's entirely possible that the aftermath of the storm may force some additional delays and cancellations -- particularly at LGA, JFK and EWR -- where substantial flooding occurred. It will likely be Thursday before flying can resume at these three airports."

American will fly planes in to Newark and Kennedy, "where those aircraft will serve as kickoff flights tomorrow morning," Powell said.

Meanwhile, American service will resume Wednesday, at midday or later, at Baltimore; Charleston, S.C.; Philadelphia, Washington Dulles, Washington Reagan, Westchester County and Harrisburg, Pa. American urged passengers to check "East Coast Travel Policies" at aa.com for the latest information.

The first arrival at JFK on Wednesday was a JetBlue (JBLU) flight, but the carrier does not plan outbound flights until Thursday. "Today we are focusing on bringing planes and crews back into JFK," said spokeswoman Tamara Young. "While there are some arriving flights into JFK, there still will be no departures until tomorrow when we plan on operating about 50% of our schedule. We'll continue to build up our service until we're operating as normal."

Delta and United (DAL) also said they will have limited service into Newark and Kennedy on Wednesday. Inbound flights to Washington airports began Tuesday night, said United spokesman Rahsaan Johnson. He said flights could begin to arrive at LaGuardia on Thursday, "conditions permitting."

Delta (DAL) will resume limited flying to LaGuardia and Newark Liberty Wednesday evening for a Thursday morning restart," said Delta spokesman Morgan Durant. "At John F. Kennedy International, Delta expects to resume limited domestic flying Wednesday afternoon. "Flying has resumed at other U.S. East Coast airports."

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