Blizzard inflicts financial damage on airlines


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Old Man Winter acted on Tuesday and Wednesday to cancel mass amounts of flights and damage profits for airlines that suffered the most, Reuters reports .

The blizzard caused as many as 5,500 flight cancellations on both days as Chicago, an air travel hub, was set to take on its largest amount of snow in more than four decades. A website that tracks flights said cancellations were ordered for an estimated 5,602 Wednesday flights, 18 percent of those scheduled.

"This has really been a major shutdown. I haven't seen one this large in many years, and I've been doing this for 42," Terry Trippler, owner of travel website, told the wire service. "Other than September 11, I haven't seen it shut down to this degree at all,"

Recently-merged United and Continental ( UAL ) pulled the plug on almost 1,900 flights, Delta ( DAL ) put the kabosh on at least 1,175, American Airlines called off 1,587 flights, US Airways ( LCC ) terminated 531 flights and Southwest ( LUV ) cancelled 850 flights.

"I expect the airlines will take substantial charges, but I haven't yet calculated what the amount could be," Basili Alukos, an equity analyst at Morningstar ( MORN ), told the wire service.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance Business
Referenced Stocks: DAL , LCC , LUV , MORN , UAL

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