On October 29th, 2012 Hurricane Sandy paralyzed travel and caused thousands of airline flights to and from the east coast of the United States to be delayed or grounded. This could create an economic hit to airlines serving major airports from Washington, D.C., to Massachusetts.
Feeling The Impact
American Airlines and its commuter line American Eagle canceled over 1,500 flights starting the Sunday night before until midday Wednesday and says there may be additional future delays and cancellations while cleanup efforts resume. Customers whose flights were canceled but bought their tickets before October 27 won’t be charged extra if they reschedule to travel no later than Nov. 7.
Delta and all other airlines with flights scheduled to depart or leave airports along the East Coast also canceled flights. The chaos spread beyond the Northeast. Airline cancellations rippled across the nation’s air travel network and disrupted international travel as foreign carriers avoided the Northeast United States. Although analysts don’t expect the storm to have a long term impact on airlines, they could however see a shortfall in the fourth quarter earnings.
The potentially historic storm could end up costing the country millions of dollars in damage and delayed travel and commerce. The Global Business Travel Association says the cost of lost travel could exceed $600 million, adding to many airlines already in debt.
The full impact of Hurricane Sandy on the airlines won’t be known for days.