United Says Sandy Cut October Revenue by $90 Million

Jorge, 30, left, and Yaw, 28, wait in front of a closed United Airlines check-in area after their flights to New York were canceled at the international airport in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.
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NEW YORK (AP) — United Airlines said Superstorm Sandy cut its October revenue by about $90 million as it was forced to cancel almost 5,300 flights.

That's nearly an entire day's worth of United's schedule lost. It runs about 5,500 flights a day throughout the world, including those operated by its regional partners. United's scrapped flights accounted for about a quarter of total the industry's Sandy-related cancellations.

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United, the world's largest airline, said late Wednesday that the storm that came aground in the New York area 10 days ago shaved about $35 million off its profit in October. Delays and cancellations in the New York region tend to ripple throughout the world because it's a major international connection point and is one of the busiest airspaces in the country.

United's traffic in October fell 3.3 percent.

But the hurricane-winter storm hybrid boosted its per-passenger revenue by about 1 percent. That's because some stranded travelers were stuffed onto other flights, allowing the airline to improve efficiency.

Delta said last week that Sandy cut its October revenue by $45 million and profit by $20 million.

Both airlines are likely to report the impact of Sandy for the month of November. They are expected to release November figures early next month. Added to that, the winter storm that blanketed the New York area on Wednesday, little more than a week after Sandy, will also hurt profit and revenue.

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United Airlines suspended operations at New York's three main airports Wednesday afternoon.

United parent United Continental Holdings Inc. is based in Chicago.

Its shares finished at $20.53 on Wednesday.

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