Irma: St. Martin, Barbuda hit hard; Air Canada adds flights

Irma: St. Martin, Barbuda hit hard; Air Canada adds flights

At least 10 people have been killed as Hurricane Irma continued its destructive path across the Caribbean, devastating the islands of St. Martin and Barbuda as the storm heads toward Florida.

French and Dutch emergency teams were dispatched to St. Martin, after massive damage was reported and at least eight people killed on the French side of the island. Princess Juliana International Airport was severely damaged in the storm, as 185-mph winds lashed the facility and flooded buildings.

While Antigua was mostly spared, neighbouring Barbuda was hit particularly hard, with Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne describing the island as "barely habitable" with the majority of the island's buildings damaged in the storm. Among them were several resorts including Paradise Found Nobu Resort, co-owned by actor Robert De Niro.

While the U.S. National Hurricane Centre lifted the warning for Puerto Rico, as of 9 a.m. this morning (Sept. 7), warnings remain in place for the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas.

The storm is expected to reach Florida by Sunday, where mandatory evacuations have been ordered in the Florida Keys and parts of Broward County, which incldues Fort Lauderdale. More evacuation orders are expected in the coming days.

Air Canada adds flights

Air Canada has added 24 extra flights this week to return travellers in the path of Hurricane Irma, which has devastated several Caribbean islands as the storm continues to travel north toward Florida.

The additional Air Canada flights will bring customers home early from the Dominican Republic (Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Samana), Bahamas (Nassau), Florida (Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Orlando), Cuba (Varadero, Holguin, Havana and Cayo Coco), Antigua and Providenciales.

With these additional flights and larger aircraft, Air Canada will have flown over 6,000 seats northbound in addition to its regular schedule over the three-day period from Sept. 5 to Sept. 7, the airline said.

In addition, Air Canada has implemented a goodwill policy for customers whose itinerary includes a flight impacted by the path of the hurricane. Affected travellers can contact Air Canada Reservations to change their flight to another date free of charge. Travellers who purchased tickets with Air Canada Vacations are asked to contact ACV directly.

Details and a list of airports impacted are available on aircanada.com.