Winter Weather Results in $5.8 Billion Economic Toll on U.S. Passengers, Airlines and Airports
For Immediate Release
Bethesda, MD, March 3, 2014 — Relentless winter weather from December 1 through February 28 has already taken a $5.8 billion toll on passengers, airlines and airports according to masFlight, a software solutions company specializing in airline operations. In comparison, recent winters averaged $3.3 billion in economic impact. The greater than average economic impacts are the result of brutal weather and two new operational regulations since the winter of 2009-2010. Additional travel disruptions continue into this month as winter storm systems disrupt airline operations.
“The airlines’ top priority is to get passengers to their destinations safely and on-time, but this season’s winter weather coupled with new government regulations forced airlines to cancel and delay a record number of flights,” said Dr. Tulinda Larsen, Vice President at masFlight. “The impact on passengers, airlines, airports and the economy reflects the fragility of the air traffic control system and the unintended consequences of new regulations.”
masFlight estimates the total economic costs from winter weather from December 1, 2013 through February 28, 2014 as follows:
- 1.0 million flights have been cancelled or delayed, impacting 90 million passengers. On average this winter weather has caused 1.0 million passengers daily to have travel plans interrupted by flights delayed or cancelled, 200,000 more passengers each day versus a typical winter.
- Total passenger impact from lost productivity and out-of-pocket costs of $5.3 billion from flight cancellations, compared to a typical winter average of $2.9 billion and an average over the previous two winters of $1.5 billion.
- Total airline costs are expected to be as much as $500 million from higher operating costs due to weather activity and lost revenue from passenger cancellations, as airlines averaged 11,200 daily flights impacted by delays and cancellations. This represents an average of almost 2,000 more impacted flights per day versus previous winters.
- Total airport costs of $4.5 million from fewer passengers, including passenger user charges, fewer cars parking, and less expenditure in concessions. Additional costs related to snow removal will be passed on to airlines through adjustments in airport rates and charges.