Airline Delays Cost Carriers and Passengers $5.8 Billion, Study Says

(Los Angeles Times/MCT) —

As another harsh storm delays thousands of flights across the United States, a new study estimates that severe weather has cost airlines and passengers $5.8 billion this winter.

More than 2,800 flights were canceled Monday and an additional 2,900 were delayed, mostly from airports on the East Coast, because of another severe winter storm that was moving east from the Tennessee Valley and the Mid-Atlantic states.

It has been an unusually tough winter for the Midwest and East Coast. A study released Monday said flight delays and cancellations have cost travelers and airlines $5.8 billion from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28.

About 1 million flights have been canceled or delayed during that period, affecting 90 million travelers, according to a study by MasFlight, an aviation operations technology company based in Bethesda, Md.

For passengers, the cancellations and delays have cost $5.3 billion in lost productivity and money spent on hotels, rental cars and food during holdovers, the study said.

In contrast, the impact on travelers during a typical winter is $2.9 billion, the study said.

During the latest winter period, airlines have taken a hit of about $500 million from lost revenue, salaries and de-icing costs, among other expenses in the same period, the MasFlight study said.

Airports in Chicago, Denver and New York had the most cancellations and delays this winter, with Chicago’s Midway Airport reporting the lowest on-time performance (57 percent) for that period, the study said.

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