UPDATE 2-Arctic freeze disrupts North American air travel

Tue Jan 7, 2014 7:41pm 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 challenges for airlines seeking to recover from recent snow and ice storms.

JetBlue Airways resumed departures from New York area and Boston airports after shutting down flights in those cities on Monday evening to position crews and aircraft as it sought to recover from bad weather and delays that piled up in recent days.

Frigid air that broke decades-old records in the middle United States moved eastward on Tuesday. Airlines had fewer cancellations on Tuesday compared with previous days, but the cold temperatures still caused problems.

Delta Air Lines said ice and snow in Detroit that disabled fuel gear led it to suspend several hundred 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 3,100 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 322 flights on Tuesday and JetBlue had 226 cancellations, according to FlightAware.com. United Continental had 141 halted flights, and American Airlines and its American Eagle unit had 516 cancellations combined.

Airports taking the hardest hit were Chicago O'Hare, where 405 flights, or about 33 percent of the total were canceled; and Toronto Pearson International, where 177 flights, or 27 percent of its total, were halted.   Continued...