JetBlue: ‘Mother Nature’ to Blame for Cancellations

Snow

People across most of the United States are dealing with record-breaking cold temperatures, snowfall, and high winds brought on by the huge winter storm that began over the weekend. The storm has resulted in dangerous roads and cancelled flights as people attempted to return to work after the start of the new year.

Those flight cancellations not only are causing headaches for passengers but for airlines as well. JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) in particular is suffering, with the company’s stock dropping more than 4 percent on Monday afternoon after the airline announced more cancellations at New York’s LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports, New Jersey’s Newark airport, and Boston’s Logan airport. Flights to and from those locations will stop after 5 p.m. Eastern on Monday evening and won’t resume until 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning, a spokeswoman for the company told Bloomberg.

That alone will result in more than 300 cancelled flights, the spokeswoman said. In a statement on its website, JetBlue blamed “Mother Nature” for the issues and said that it hopes to be fully operational by 3 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday afternoon.

“Now today, less than a week into the year, we’re watching a polar vortex wreak havoc on flight schedules across the industry, as rainy weather prepares to turn airports in the Northeast into ice rinks once again,” JetBlue said on Monday.

Although the company pointed out that the harsh weather is affecting flights “across the industry,” other airlines don’t seem to be seeing the same dip in their stock. Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) was trading up slightly at the time of writing on Monday, and United Continental (NYSE:UAL) was only down just over 1 percent.

The Associated Press released a detailed report on how the polar vortex is affecting the United States. Wind chills in certain parts of the Midwest could reach the negative 50s and 60s; schools are closed in St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, and cities in between. The mayor of Indianapolis upgraded the city’s travel emergency alert to “red,” which prohibits driving except to seek shelter or help for an emergency, for the first time since 1978. Single-digit temperatures are expected as far south as Georgia and Alabama.

While being stranded far from home due to cancelled flights is certainly a headache, it’s important to keep in mind that safety is more important than making it somewhere on time.

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