October 7, 2016 / 3:42 PM / a year ago

Hurricane Matthew disrupts stores, plants and transport

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Disruptions to air travel, manufacturing, supply chains and retail stores spread on Friday as Hurricane Matthew worked its way up Florida’s Atlantic coast, leaving people and goods stranded and plants idled.

After cancelling 590 flights on Thursday, American Airlines Group Inc canceled 580 on Friday and 160 on Saturday. A spokesman said flights had resumed in Miami on Friday morning as the storm moved north.

Delta Air Lines Inc canceled 240 flights for Friday, and roughly 80 for Saturday for northeastern Florida, coastal Georgia and South Carolina.

Southwest Airlines Co canceled 130 flights for Friday and 95 for Saturday.

United Airlines raised its total number of cancellations for Wednesday through Saturday to 270 from 180. Many of the additional cancellations affect Georgia and South Carolina.

The storm also caused railroads and retailers to suspend or curtail operations.

Ports in Florida and up the coast, including Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, also suspended operations.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc closed a number of stores ahead of Hurricane Matthew. A spokesperson said the company was using its experience of past disasters to anticipate what goods may be in greater demand after the storm passes.

Office supply retailer Staples Inc said it had closed stores in line with emergency evacuation guidelines. Nike Inc has closed facilities in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and encouraged “employees to follow the guidance of state and local officials to evacuate areas.”

Online retailer Amazon said it was working closely with its employees to ensure their safety and get donations of supplies to areas hit by the storm.

Employee-owned supermarket chain Publix said stores in southern Florida had reopened after the hurricane passed.

Manufacturers were also affected.

Deere & Co closed its Miami, Florida, office for three to four days and several of its Nortrax construction equipment dealerships around the state.

“We basically want people to go home and take care of their own personal property,” spokesman Ken Golden said. “For their safety we would rather have them doing whatever the government disaster officials are saying.” Boeing Co suspended production on Wednesday at its South Carolina plant in North Charleston, and in Florida, including Miami, the Kennedy Space Center, Jacksonville and Orlando. The company said it was monitoring the situation for its operations in Georgia and North Carolina.

Auto supplier WABCO Holdings Inc halted production in Charleston, South Charleston and said that “weather permitting,” work would resume on Monday, Oct. 10.

Business jet aircraft maker Gulfstream, a unit of General Dynamics Corp, said its plants in Savannah and Brunswick, Georgia, and West Palm Beach, Florida, were closed and were tentatively slated to reopen on Monday.

Engine maker Cummins Inc has closed four plants in Florida, one in Georgia and another in South Carolina.

Honda Motor Co Ltd, which has a plant in South Carolina, is evaluating the impact of Hurricane Matthew.

“At this point, the hurricane will not impact any of our manufacturing plants,” spokesman Chris Abbruzzese said. “We are, however, monitoring any potential impacts to our supply chain.”

Additional reporting by Nandita Bose in Chicago, Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles and Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bengaluru; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Cynthia Osterman

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