U.S. snow and ice delays flights, other services
This week, parts of the U.S. were inundated with severe winter weather, forcing airlines and other companies to cancel or delay services. A winter storm first dropped 4 to 8 inches of snow in metro Atlanta, accounting for a slew of delays at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and then moved to the Northeast.
Starting last weekend, Delta began proactively reducing services through Atlanta in anticipation of the winter storm, which hit the area on Sunday night. Wednesday, the carrier canceled 1,300 flights because of hazardous conditions in the South and Northeast. Thursday, Delta canceled more than 200 flights system-wide due to the weather in the Northeast.
This new spat of severe winter weather — for Atlanta, it was one of those once-in-a-Blue-Moon storms — are sure to negatively affect Delta's first-quarter profits. Last month, the European storms bit a big chunk out of Delta's fourth-quarter earnings.
"December's severe winter weather throughout the United States and Western Europe reduced Delta's net profit for the fourth quarter by about $45 million from our previous expectations," Delta President Ed Bastian said in a statement.
After canceling all flights coming in and out of Atlanta on Monday, AirTran issued weather advisories on Tuesday that warned of delays in Atlanta through Thursday; AirTran flights out of airports in Northeast were experiencing delays through Wednesday.
According to the Air Transport Association JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways all issued travel advisories this week, canceling or delaying flights (mostly in the Northeast). A post on the Continental Airlines’ Twitter account on Wednesday morning advised passengers that there were limited flights out of New York and Newark due to snow.
But airlines weren’t the only ones affected by the snow and ice. The USPS halted mail delivery on Monday and Tuesday in Atlanta, and only a portion of area residents received mail on Wednesday. Further logistics breakdowns meant that many area grocery stores were out of food items or had nearly bare shelves.
UPS said, as of Wednesday, operations in 16 states and Washington, D.C., had been affected by winter weather. A number of UPS service centers had been completely shut down. A UPS press release issued on Thursday reported that “small package service has resumed throughout areas in the Southeast and Northeast affected by severe winter weather.”