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Originally published February 13, 2014 at 9:56 AM | Page modified February 13, 2014 at 3:10 PM

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As storm hammers N.E., year’s flight cancellations top 73,400

U.S. storms have created some of the worst winter flight conditions, with massive cancellations and delays. On Thursday, flights from Washington, D.C. and Newark were hammered.


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Airline cancellations in the U.S. surged as a winter storm battered hub airports in New York on Thursday, the nation’s biggest aviation market, and elsewhere along the East Coast.

“Anybody who’s operating in the northeast corridor is having a bad day today,” Josh Marks, chief executive officer of industry data tracker MasFlight, said in a telephone interview.

About 6,500 flights in the U.S. had been scrubbed as of Thursday afteroon, according to FlightAware.com. That's coming closed to the record cancellations when Hurricane Sandy forced airlines to drop 7,400 flights on Oct. 29, 2012, reported MasFlight. Yesterday’s 4,100 cancellations were canceled, according to Bethesda, Maryland-based MasFlight.

Cancellations for 2014 have totaled more 73,400, with this week’s count already surpassing 13,000 flights, according to MasFlight.

“This week alone is worse than the worst winter months in prior years,” Marks said.

Some flights between Seattle and Washington, D.C., were canceled Thursday as were some Atlanta flights, with some New York flights delayed.

Geography and meteorology are converging to make the travel disruptions so extensive. The storm brought heavy snow from Virginia to Maine, blanketing a region that includes New York’s three major airports and sending ripples across the country by sealing off much of the busiest U.S. airspace.

The majority of flights scheduled to leave Newark Liberty Airport were canceled Thursday, as were about half of the flights to and from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, while JFK airport was doing better.

Washington’, D.C.’s three area airports and Philadelphia International each had more than 70 percent of departures grounded, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, the largest U.S. airport by traffic, had 35 percent of scheduled takeoffs removed, Houston-based data provider FlightAware reported.

JetBlue hit hard

JetBlue Airways Corp. has canceled 304 of 828 scheduled departures today, according to an email from the New York-based carrier. With bases in Boston and New York, JetBlue has been one of the most affected airlines this winter, with 1,800 trips scrapped in a five-day span in January.

“This is typical, standard-issue, garden-variety winter weather that airlines have to deal with,” Jennifer Dervin, a spokeswoman, said after the carrier scrubbed all its New York and Boston service this morning.

MasFlight’s Marks took a longer view of the travel disruptions, which included a projected $150 million in added costs and lost revenue for U.S.-based airlines in January and $2.5 billion in extra expenses for passengers. Cancellations for 2014 have totaled 73,400, with this week’s count surpassing 13,000 flights, according to MasFlight.

“This week alone is worse than the worst winter months in prior years,” Marks said.

Some material from The Seattle Times was used in this report.



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