United, Southwest Take Extra Fuel to NYC as Precaution

Four of the five largest U.S. airlines, a group led by United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL), are taking extra jet fuel aboard New York-bound flights to avoid any shortages after superstorm Sandy.

Joining United are AMR Corp. (AAMRQ)’s American Airlines, Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) and US Airways Group Inc. (LCC), spokesmen said. Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) and JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) said they’re not making any changes to fuel loads on planes serving the nation’s busiest aviation market.

“It’s just something we can do to help in the recovery process” and avoid drawing on existing stocks of jet kerosene in the region, Brad Hawkins, a spokesman for Dallas-based Southwest, said in an e-mail.

All New York airports have an “adequate” supply of jet fuel and continue to receive deliveries, said Pasquale DiFulco, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Gasoline supplies are dwindling in New Jersey and New York in Sandy’s wake, leading to long lines at the pumps.

Airlines topped off jets’ tanks for Miami-bound flights after a March 2011 fire at an airport fuel farm, and did the same thing after ice-storm disruptions in Atlanta two months earlier. Jet fuel for immediate delivery in New York Harbor fell 2.5 percent to $2.97 a gallon for a fourth daily drop in a row.

Fuel Adjustments

United usually takes fuel precautions “in the event of snowstorms or other significant travel disruptions,” Charles Hobart, a United spokesman, said via e-mail. “We will continue to assess the situation in New York and adjust our fuel loads to meet our needs.”

The Chicago-based carrier is the world’s largest airline, followed by Delta. American, Southwest and US Airways are the next biggest in the U.S., based on passenger traffic.

Delta canceled more than 3,500 flights in October due to Sandy and projected that the storm cut the month’s profit by $20 million and reduced revenue by $45 million, according to a statement today. Sandy’s effect on November would be less, Atlanta-based Delta said.

JetBlue, which expects to resume its full schedule in New York tomorrow, said it expects a “material” impact on fourth- quarter results. The New York-based airline didn’t quantify the effect.

Airlines and airports have been working around the clock to resume full service in Sandy’s wake. Both John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty airports are fully operational, while LaGuardia is still ramping up, Ron Marsico, a Port Authority spokesman, said in a telephone interview.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Stilwell in New York at vstilwell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net

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