Storm Grounds U.S. Travelers for a Second Day

U.S. airlines cancelled dozens of flights yesterday as they regrouped after heavy rain, snow and gale-force winds battered the Northeast.

JetBlue Airways Corp., which suffered a storm-related operational meltdown in February that cost it about $30 million (U.S.), planned to cancel 44 flights yesterday after grounding 175 on Sunday. The company normally flies 550 flights a day.

Delta Air Lines Inc. and its regional service partners grounded 70 flights after cancelling 300 on Sunday. A spokesperson said the carrier expected to have all its passengers rebooked on other flights by the end of the night.

AMR Corp.'s American Airlines planned to cancel 19 flights yesterday after grounding 121, or 5 per cent of its schedule, on Sunday. And US Airways Group Inc. said it had 40 cancellations yesterday in upstate New York and New England after 51 on Sunday. Its regional service partners cancelled 207 flights yesterday after grounding 406 on Sunday.

Northwest Airlines Corp., which cancelled 19 flights on Sunday, said it grounded 13 flights in and out of the Northeast yesterday.

The storm dumped 20 centimetres of rain and snow in parts of upstate New York and border states New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. Flooding was widespread, with 1,400 people evacuated in New Jersey, and thousands lost power. The storm also struck eastern Ontario, parts of Quebec and the Maritime provinces.

High winds in the densely populated region remained a problem for air traffic, Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Laura Brown said.

There were delays of more than three hours at Washington's Dulles airport and the Newark, N.J., airport. Flights at New York's LaGuardia airport and at Philadelphia and Boston were experiencing delays of more than 90 minutes.

"Right now, we're thinking that (yesterday's cancellations) will take the pressure off the system, and we'll be back up and running like normal (Tuesday)," JetBlue spokesperson Bryan Baldwin said.

Discount carrier JetBlue took days to recover from an ice storm at its New York hub in February that caused it to cancel some 1,200 flights.

A total of 600 flights were cancelled at New York's three airports on Sunday, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

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