Nov 8 United Continental Holdings, the
world's largest air carrier, said disruptions to operations
including the cancellation of nearly 5,300 flights because of
superstorm Sandy, reduced revenue and profit in October.
United, which operates a major hub at Newark Liberty
International Airport in New Jersey, said in a statement late
Wednesday that Sandy hurt revenue by about $90 million and
profit by about $35 million in October.
The airline estimated that unit revenue, or passenger
revenue per available seat mile, rose 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent
last month compared with a year earlier. It said cancellations
tied to Sandy improved unit revenue growth by about 1 percentage
Superstorm Sandy resulted in shutdowns at major New
York-area airports and cancellations of more than 20,000
This week, another storm that brought snow and rain to the
U.S. Northeast led airlines to cancel more than 2,000 flights
for Wednesday and Thursday, according to the FlightAware.com
tracking service. On Thursday, United and Delta Air Lines
said their operations in the New York area were resuming
as the region recovered from the latest storm.
Barclays airline analyst David Fintzen said he expects Sandy
to hurt airline earnings by $150 million to $200 million
collectively in the fourth quarter. This week, he raised fourth-
quarter earnings estimates for most airlines he covers, citing
relief from lower fuel prices.
"Fuel has actually come down enough that it more than
offsets the actual earnings impact," Fintzen said.
Delta has said Sandy hurt October revenue by $45 million and
likely shaved about $20 million from October profit. New
York-based JetBlue Airways said it expected "material"
fourth-quarter effects from Sandy with short-term flight demand
likely weakening as customers look to rebuild.
Shares of major airlines rose on Thursday, with United
Continental gaining 2.1 percent to $20.96, and Delta up 2.3
percent at $10.17.