Airlines resume service after storm, but snarls remain
Under clear skies, airlines that serve the New York City area and other Northeastern cities started to return their planes to service Monday, but many warned that travelers whose plans were thrown into disarray by Hurricane Irene could still face scheduling problems and delays through the week.
Cancellations continued Monday as airlines and airports grappled with logistical problems. Airlines had relocated planes out of the area before the storm hit over the weekend and are now struggling to get employees, including flight crews and terminal workers, back into position because of difficulties in commuting.
The resumption of some airline operations was in line with the partial return of other transportation systems, which were shut down throughout the New York area and in parts of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia and other urban areas because of the hurricane. Service on subways, trains and buses started to resume as millions of people returned to work Monday morning.
Many flights were already fully booked in the week leading up to the Labor Day weekend, a period of heavy travel. So passengers who are trying to get alternate flights are trying to rebook in a packed system.
While more than 1,800 flights were canceled Monday at airports in the New York City area, Boston and Philadelphia, most airlines reported they were operating again.
Newly merged United and Continental said it resumed flights at noon Eastern time Monday at Newark Liberty International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport. The airline said in a statement it would also resume service at several other airports along the East Coast.
A JetBlue airlines communications manager, Mateo Lleras, said that the airline, which had canceled 1,252 flights Saturday through Monday, would operate 432 flights Monday afternoon and expected to resume full operations sometime this week at Newark, LaGuardia, Kennedy and at two other airports, one in White Plains, N.Y., and the other, Stewart International Airport, in Newburgh, N.Y.
Big international airlines also scrambled to catch up.
Lufthansa had canceled 18 round-trip flights in and out of Boston, New York and Philadelphia, and said Monday that it had resumed its full schedule. The airline flies through those airports to Munich, Frankfurt and Duesseldorf in Germany.