American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) joined JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) in operating a thinned flight schedule today after winter storms dropped a record amount of snow on New York and blasted other cities in the northeastern U.S.
Cancellations totaled 250 at American and its American Eagle regional unit, while JetBlue scrubbed 190 flights. About 1,470 flights were scrapped across the industry today with airports serving New York, Boston and Philadelphia the hardest hit, according to data tracker FlightAware.
“American is still seeing a number of delays and cancellations today due to the winter storm in the Northeast,” Andrea Huguely, an American spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. “Most of the cancellations are regional flights.”
New York’s LaGuardia Airport lost the largest share of flights, including a 34 percent drop in takeoffs as airlines sought to ensure that no planes were snowbound. It’s a base for American and Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), while JetBlue’s operations were disrupted at New York’s John F. Kennedy International and Boston’s Logan.
JetBlue’s schedule pullback was the most among major U.S. airlines. FlightAware reported 126 cancellations for SkyWest Inc.’s ExpressJet, which makes commuter flights for Fort Worth, Texas-based American, United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) and Delta. They are the three biggest U.S. carriers.
About 25 percent of JetBlue’s grounded flights were scheduled before 9 a.m. New York time and 10 a.m. in Boston, said Jenny Dervin, a JetBlue spokeswoman. The carrier canceled 475 flights yesterday and today.
“We anticipate delays throughout the day but few if any more cancellations,” Dervin said in an e-mail. “Customer re-accommodation looks very good. We’ve notified customers well in advance and they have several options to rebook.”
Today’s cancellations represent about 26 percent of the New York-based carrier’s daily schedule, FlightAware reported on its website. JetBlue scrapped 285 flights yesterday, or 38 percent of the day’s trips, according to Houston-based FlightAware.
Eleven inches (28 centimeters) of snow fell overnight in New York’s Central Park, a record for the date. About 3.8 inches fell in Washington yesterday and 13.5 in Philadelphia, according to the National Weather Service. Schools were closed today in Boston and Philadelphia.
JetBlue was forced to end service at New York’s three major airports and Boston for 17 hours starting Jan. 6 to reposition planes and personnel after foul weather forced the grounding of 1,800 flights from Jan. 2 to Jan. 7, affecting 150,000 customers. The suspension affected Kennedy, Logan, New York’s LaGuardia and New Jersey’s Newark Liberty.
The airline now has more rebooking options for passengers than after the earlier cancellations because planes were flying so full after the Christmas holiday, Dervin said yesterday. JetBlue says it typically operates 750 daily flights across the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America.
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