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JetBlue cancels flights in storm under new policy

February 27, 2007|From Reuters

JetBlue Airways Corp. canceled a third of its flights Monday in and out of New York, taking new steps to confront bad weather and avert the type of storm-related service meltdown that rocked the carrier nearly two weeks ago when 1,200 flights were canceled.

The storm that blanketed eastern cities with snow and freezing rain Sunday and early Monday was not as severe as the ice storm that struck Feb. 14 and left JetBlue in shambles for days. But it was still the first test for the airline since putting in place a more aggressive policy for dealing with weather delays.

Other airlines also canceled dozens of arrivals and departures.

JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin said the company began calling passengers booked on flights in and out of its home base at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport on Sunday -- well before the first flakes of snow began to fall on the area.

"That's what we didn't do on" Feb. 14, Baldwin said.

JetBlue wound up canceling some flights in Washington and Pittsburgh on Sunday where the snow began falling in the morning and a third of its operations at JFK -- 66 flights -- Monday morning.

JetBlue Chief Executive David Neeleman said last week that the company needed to cancel flights faster in sustained severe weather to give flight crews, ground operations and reservation systems time to regroup and prepare for resuming service quickly when conditions improve.

"Our mentality in the past was to operate flights rather than cancel them. But we've realized that as we have grown it is much harder to get back to a normal schedule," Baldwin said.

Delta Air Lines canceled about 150 flights at area airports Monday, most at its JFK hub, a spokeswoman said.

US Airways canceled 36 flights at New York's LaGuardia Airport on Monday. AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines also canceled flights in New York on Monday.

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