Severe winter storms in the first month of the year cost U.S.-based airlines as much as $150 million in lost revenue and extra expenses after they canceled about as many flights as the past three Januaries combined, industry data tracker masFlight said.
Delta Air Lines Inc. led shares of U.S. carriers higher after posting fourth-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates and forecasting an operating margin of as much as 8 percent in this year’s initial three months.
Anger mounted among passengers stranded on airport tarmacs and in terminals as flight delays threatened to stretch into the weekend following the worst December snowstorm to hit New York City in six decades.
Southwest Airlines Co. flies more passengers in the U.S. than any other carrier and serves 29 of the 30 largest metropolitan areas. To federal regulators, that’s not enough to be considered an influential industry competitor.
American Airlines risks having to tap its $5 billion bankruptcy cash fund and probably will lose some passengers after on-time arrivals tumbled, cancellations surged and incorrectly installed seat clamps were found on six planes.
United Airlines parent UAL Corp. and US Airways Group Inc., which ended merger talks last week, posted first-quarter losses narrower than analysts estimated as more people flew on international routes and paid higher fares.
Continental Airlines Inc., the focus of merger talks with UAL Corp.’s United Airlines, reported a wider first-quarter loss than analysts projected as low-fare carrier Southwest Airlines Co. posted a profit.