American (AAL) Cancels 6,647 Flights, Most Among Airlines, Because of Storm - TheStreet

By a wide margin, American (AAL) - Get Report cancelled more flights than any other carrier during the three-day winter blizzard that struck the East Coast of the U.S.

Through Sunday, American cancelled 6,096 flights, according to statistics compiled by air travel intelligence company OAG. The carrier also cancelled 551 Monday flights.

Cancellations accounted for 32% of the carrier's Friday schedule, 38% of its Friday schedule and 27% of the Sunday schedule.

United (UAL) - Get Report cancelled 2,873 flights during the three-day period, including 11% of its Friday schedule, 27% of its Saturday schedule and 27% of its Sunday schedule, OAG said. Delta (DAL) - Get Report cancelled 2,288 flights, including 11% of its Friday schedule, 21% of its Saturday schedule and 17% of its Sunday schedule.

For all of the nation's airlines, the biggest impact of the storm came Saturday, when American cancelled 2,177 flights or 38% of its schedule, reflecting the shutdown of the Charlotte hub as well as weather problems at East Coast airports.

JetBlue (JBLU) - Get Report , which operates its only hub at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, cancelled 915 flights or 57% of its schedule on Saturday, and 331 flights or 35% of its schedule on Sunday.

American also cancelled 2,177 flights or 32% of schedule on Friday, the same number of cancellations as it had on Saturday, but more flights were scheduled on Friday, OAG said.

As the weather improves, said Monday that the three Washington, D.C., area airports "still have very few flights operating this morning, with 40% of Dulles flights cancelled and 20% of National flights cancelled. In New York, "JFK and LaGuardia are operating a high percentage of flights, but Newark has over 35% of flights cancelled today," Flightaware said.

American said it has cancelled 551 Monday flights, including 202 mainline flights. Spokesman Ross Feinstein said most of the cancellations resulted from an inability to get aircraft in place for early morning departures, with 90 cancellations at Washington National, 89 at LaGuardia, 49 at Philadelphia International and 33 at JFK. 

At Charlotte, just 23 departures were cancelled. "All runways and taxiways are open this morning and in good shape," said spokeswoman Katie Cody. "We're still seeing some delays and cancellations due to the weather up and down the East Coast, but we are getting back on track."

Airlines have cancelled 1,280 Monday flights, FlightAware said, adding that "United Airlines has hubs at both Dulles and Newark and is the source of most of those cancellations." The company said 207 Tuesday flights have been cancelled. Almost all of them are United Express flights at Dulles.

During the five days from Friday through Tuesday, airlines have cancelled 12,623 flights, FlightAware said.

In general, the cost of a weather event that cancels large numbers of flights is in the tens of millions of dollars. Such events typically result in an increase in revenue per available seat mile, the closely watched metric, because fewer flights are operated. For the same reason, cost per available seat mile also increases.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.