Airlines Delay, Cancel Flights Across US as Winter Storm Disrupts Holiday Travel

Winter storms battering large parts of the US are leading to widespread flight cancellations and delays from East Coast hubs to the Pacific Northwest, disrupting airline operations during the busy holiday season.

About 3,900 U.S. flights were canceled Friday at 11:40 a.m. Eastern Time, bringing the total to more than 6,500 for the past two days, according to tracking site FlightAware.

Airports in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo and Seattle took the brunt of the fallout, with airlines cutting between a third and two-thirds of operations, FlightAware reported. New York’s LaGuardia was also hit hard, dropping about 30% of its normal flights. Nearby airports John F. Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International reported less than 10% cancellations, but the rate was still above normal.

“It’s such a shame,” Helane Becker, an analyst at Cowen Inc., said in an email. “It will be a mess and people will be disappointed. Delays are better than cancellations, but they can’t do anything about the weather.”

Read more: Wheat climbs as deep freeze stirs fears of shrinking our crops

Airlines have been proactively shortening their schedules for days, urging passengers to reschedule flights in an effort to make the process more orderly. That way, travelers can stay home until their new flight instead of “going to the airport and hoping for the best,” Becker said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement Friday that severe weather “moving northeastward across the Great Lakes will have a major impact on the national airspace system today.” In addition to problems from the storms, the agency warned of heavier-than-normal volumes in destinations in Puerto Rico, the Gulf of Mexico and ski resorts.

Also Read:  American Airlines Cargo Extends its Extensive Transatlantic Network....

Weather conditions are adding additional stress to airlines, some of which have reported weak December demand in recent weeks. Airlines are counting on a steady recovery in air traffic to help them return to pre-pandemic sales levels.

Southwest Airlines Co. reported the biggest impact among airlines on Friday, canceling 798 or 19% of its flights. Chicago’s Midway, one of the busiest airports, reported about half of its arrivals and departures canceled, according to FlightAware.

Alaska Air Group Inc. canceled 312 flights from its schedule on Friday, or 40%, when snow and ice hit its Seattle hub.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *