Flight cancellations eased somewhat on Sunday, but the brutal holiday weekend weather continued to disrupt airline operations on Christmas Day.
Airlines canceled more than 2,500 flights to, from, or within the U.S. by the evening of Christmas Day. The previous day carriers canceled close to 3,500 flights. Since Wednesday, airlines have canceled more than 14,000 flights, according to FlightAware.
In pummeled Buffalo, N.Y., the Buffalo Niagara International Airport said Sunday it would remain closed until Tuesday, citing high winds that caused snow drifts and low visibility. The Federal Aviation Administration said Sunday that wind could cause delays in and around New York, Boston and Philadelphia, while wind and snow could lead to delays in Detroit and Minneapolis.
was one of the hardest hit this past week, and its troubles continued through the weekend. After canceling about a third of its flights Friday and Saturday, Southwest scrubbed about 15% of its schedule as of midafternoon Sunday.
Severe weather often upends airline operations. But this storm has been notable in its breadth—covering a huge swath of the country—and its effects have lingered for days during what was expected to be one of the busiest weeks for travel since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Persistently frigid temperatures and ice in some regions created challenges for many airlines as they tried to ramp back up, even as some weather conditions improved.
Delta Air Lines Inc.
said the bulk of snow had passed, but frozen equipment in some places and restrictions on otherwise routine ground operations led to cancellations that stretched into Sunday, with the airline canceling around 16% of its flights on Christmas Day, according to Anuvu, an aviation data provider. The airline said its meteorologists were forecasting better conditions through Monday.
“While we are seeing continued improvement today, our crews and aircraft are being positioned for a more significant operational uptick tomorrow,” a Delta spokesman said Sunday.
Alaska Air Group Inc.
said Sunday that operations in Seattle and Portland, Ore., had improved after an ice storm Friday. Still, the airline said it canceled over 130 flights Sunday due to aircraft and crews being out of place.
The FAA evacuated a control tower at Newark Liberty International Airport due to a water leak Saturday, which led to delays there. An FAA spokesman said the impact was short-lived.
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