Airlines cancel flights ahead of Nor'easter storm

CHICAGO, Jan 28 (Reuters) - U.S. carriers on Friday canceled hundreds of flights and warned of operational disruptions this weekend because of a winter storm that is forecast to bring high winds and heavy snow across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

The National Weather Service said in an advisory that the Nor'easter storm would result in blizzard-like conditions and make travel "nearly impossible."

American Airlines AAL.O said it expects the storm to have a "significant" impact on its Northeast operations, especially at Boston Logan International Airport. The Texas-based carrier has thus far canceled 50 flights in order to avoid last-minute disruptions at the airport. It is allowing impacted passengers to rebook flights without change fees.

New York-based JetBlue JBLU.O said it has canceled about 500 flights through Sunday. United Airlines UAL.O has canceled 10% of its Saturday flights. And Delta Air Lines DAL.N also said they expect the storm to impact their weekend operations.

In all, more than 2,200 flights have been canceled for Saturday, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.

Inclement winter weather has added to the challenges facing the airline industry, which is trying to recover from turbulence caused by the Omicron coronavirus variant. An increase in COVID-19 infections among employees has left carriers short staffed, forcing them to cancel flights.

Southwest Airlines Co LUV.N on Thursday said about 5,000 employees, or roughly 10% of its workforce, had contracted the virus in the first three weeks of January. The company has canceled more than 5,600 flights thus far this month, which is estimated to cost it $50 million in revenue.

(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; Editing by Mark Porter)

((rajeshkumar.singh@thomsonreuters.com; +1-312-408-8537; Reuters Messaging: rajeshkumar.singh.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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

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