Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) — United Continental Holdings Inc. and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines suspended most flights to and from the New York area starting later today because of a winter storm forecast to hit the northeast U.S.American and its American Eagle regional partner also will suspend services in Philadelphia at noon local time, about three hours before grounding New York flights. Delta Air Lines Inc. also projected halting some flights. Southwest Airlines Co. and US Airways Group Inc. were tracking the storm.
The weather system is threatening the U.S. northeast after Hurricane Sandy forced about 20,000 cancellations last week. While airlines often move planes from the path of large storms to keep them from being stranded, United began reacting hours after forecasters started warning of the storm’s intensity.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like this, when it’s just heavy rains and winds,” Bob McAdoo, an analyst with Los Angeles-based Imperial Capital LLC, said in an interview after Chicago-based United led off the cancellations.
United said long-haul international services and flights to other hubs from New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport will continue while other operations stop there and at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport at noon. About 500 flights will be scrubbed before service resumes at midday tomorrow, said Charles Hobart, a spokesman.
American and Eagle grounded 290 flights, and warned in a statement of possible additional cancellations and delays. The carriers expect to resume flights tomorrow morning.
Some New Jersey towns ordered evacuations yesterday after the National Weather Service forecast the risk of a storm surge as high as 4 feet to the shores of New Jersey, New York City and Long Island. Delaware and Connecticut may also see flooding. Gusts as intense at 60 miles (97 kilometers) per hour may rake the area as the next system arrives, the weather service said.
No tally of Delta’s projected cancellations is available yet, said Morgan Durrant, a spokesman. The Atlanta-based airline waived rebooking fees for passengers flying to and from the New York-area airports and Philadelphia yesterday through tomorrow.
US Airways offered a similar waiver in the New York City area and Newburgh and White Plains, New York; and New Haven, Connecticut, according to its website. US Airways is “closely monitoring” the situation, said Todd Lehmacher, a spokesman.
JetBlue Airways Corp.’s travel policy covered the New York City area airports and Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, New York; Washington; Hartford, Connecticut; Richmond, Virginia; Boston, and Burlington, Vermont. Southwest is tracking the storm and hasn’t made any decisions regarding delays or cancellations, said a spokeswoman, Katie McDonald.
About 580 flights had been scrapped at North American airports today as of last night, according to industry data tracker FlightStats Inc.’s website. United’s Hobart said by e- mail that the airline’s canceled flights are about 5 per cent of the total in the 24-hour span covered by the suspension at the world’s largest airline.
Disruptions from Sandy cost major airlines as much as $45 million each, according to Dan McKenzie, a Buckingham Research Group analyst in New York. That storm lashed the New York region, the biggest aviation market, and shut the area’s three major airports for most of last week.
–With assistance from Victoria Stilwell in New York and Brian K. Sullivan in Boston. Editors: Ed Dufner, Stephen West
To contact the reporters on this story: Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas at [email protected]; Mary Jane Credeur in Atlanta at [email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at [email protected]
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