UPDATE 1-Arctic freeze disrupts North American air travel

Tue Jan 7, 2014 3:39pm EST
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By Karen Jacobs

Jan 7 (Reuters) - Glacial temperatures gripping large parts of the United States and Canada disrupted thousands of flights on Tuesday, creating more challenges for airlines seeking to recover from recent snow and ice storms.

JetBlue Airways resumed departures from New York and Boston airports after shutting down flights in those cities on Monday evening to protect crews and aircraft as it sought to recover from recent snow and low temperatures.

A frigid blast of arctic air that broke decades-old records in the middle United States moved eastward on Tuesday. The cold weather froze fueling equipment for planes, forcing airlines to cancel flights.

Delta Air Lines said ice and snow at its Detroit hub that disabled fuel gear led it to suspend regional flights there on Tuesday. Air Canada said flights to, from or connecting through 15 airports in Canada and the U.S. Northeast could be delayed or canceled into Thursday.

Overall, more than 2,900 flights had been canceled on Tuesday, according to flight tracker FlightAware.com. That compared with nearly 4,600 cancellations on Monday.

Among major carriers, Southwest had canceled 309 flights on Tuesday and JetBlue had 216 cancellations, according to FlightAware.com. United Continental had 117 halted flights, and American Airlines and its American Eagle unit had 500 cancellations combined.

Airports taking the hardest hit were Chicago O'Hare, where 383 flights, or about 31 percent, of flights were canceled; and Toronto Pearson, where 119 flights, or 19 percent of its total, were halted.   Continued...