Cathay Pacific

Flights to New York cancelled ahead of snowstorm

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 February, 2013, 11:51pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 February, 2013, 4:34am

Thousands of flights going to and from New York have been cancelled as the United States’ northeast braces for a snowstorm, but it is expected to have minimal impact on Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Airport Authority said three scheduled flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty, operated by Cathay Pacific and United Airlines, were cancelled on Friday.

Cathay Pacific’s CX845, due to depart from JFK on Friday morning, was delayed for 24 hours.

And New York-bound CX846 was rescheduled to leave Hong Kong on Saturday.

Two Cathay flights, CX840 and CX889, were cancelled.

United Airlines said it had cancelled 900 flights scheduled for Friday in advance of the storm. Delta Air Lines cancelled 740 flights.

New England could get battered on Friday, with up to 0.6 metres of snow expected to fall, while New York City is under a blizzard warning for 0.3 metres or more.

The airports with the most cancellations on Friday were Newark Liberty, Boston’s Logan International and LaGuardia, in that order, according to airline tracking website FlightAware.

American Airlines cancelled 50 flights on Thursday and was scrapping 50 more on Friday. A spokesman said more flights were likely to be cancelled.

On Thursday, the biggest weather problems were in Chicago. O’Hare airport had 85 cancelled departures.

Airlines issued so-called weather waivers, allowing passengers flying in the storm-affected areas to change their flight date without paying a change fee.

In recent years airlines have tried to get ahead of big storms by cancelling flights in advance rather than crossing their fingers that they could operate in bad weather. Travellers can still face days of delays in getting home, but the advanced cancellations generally mean they get more notice and can wait out the storm at home or in a hotel, rather than on a cot at the airport.

In addition, reservation systems have been programmed to automatically rebook passengers when flights are cancelled. And travellers now receive notifications by e-mail, phone or text message.