Around 7,000 flights have been cancelled ahead of Hurricane Sandy hitting the US east coast.

Having wreaked havoc in the Caribbean the storm is expected to collide with a wintry weather system as it hits land in the US during the Halloween holiday resulting in an increase in its strength and earning it the name ‘Frankenstorm’.

As New York City was being locked down with 375,000 people told to evacuate low lying areas and public transport suspended from last night, airlines were forced to suspend transatlantic and US domestic services.

British Airways cancelled all today’s flights to and from cities along the eastern seaboard, including New York, Baltimore, Washington, Boston and Philadelphia, with the exception of BA238 from Boston.

Virgin Atlantic cancelled flights to and from New York’s JFK airport, Newark, Boston and Washington today. Air France cancelled all flights into New York and Washington DC.

Many of the flight cancellations are due to airport closures in New Jersey, New York and Washington DC, but more airports are expected to be closed as the storm moves north.

American Airlines, Delta, United and US Airways are among US carriers with severely disrupted flying schedules. United cancelled 3,700 flights, American 1,571 and US Airways 483, with more expected.

JetBlue, which flies out of JFK, said it has canceled more than 1,000 flights from Sunday through to Wednesday morning. American started to shut down flights last night, with services expected to be affected until at least midday on Wednesday.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it expects all carriers into its airports to cease operations from the area’s three main airports.

Carriers warned that additional delays could be seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and some scheduled flights might be cancelled beyond Wednesday.

Up to 60 million people could be affected by the storm, prompting a number of states on the east coast to declare a state of emergency.

The hurricane, which killed as many as 65 people as it swept through the Caribbean, may cause $18 billion in damage and knock out power to 10 million for a week or more.