Hurricane Sandy Not Done With Airlines Yet


Hurricane Sandy took a big bite out of airline revenue in the fourth quarter--not only in the flight cancellations and immediate aftermath, but also because the recovery and cleanup lessened the ability and desire of Northeast residents, particularly in New York and New Jersey, to book flights for weeks afterward. That longer-term impact was especially true for carriers such as JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines more heavily dependent on the New York area's leisure traffic.

Demand seemed to return to normal by December, JetBlue and Spirit executives say, but Hurricane Sandy is not quite done messing with air travel bookings yet. Executives at New York-based JetBlue say demand is not as strong for the Presidents Day travel weekend this year because many of the school systems that lost days to the superstorm are making it up by keeping kids in school for the Feb. 18 holiday. That historically has been a big travel-generating holiday for the carrier.

Robin Hayes, JetBlue's chief commercial officer, describes it as the "last hangover of Hurricane Sandy."

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