The super cold storms punishing the Midwest and parts of the East Coast have already cost airlines and their passengers more than $1.4 billion in operating expenses and lost work time, according to a new study.
The estimate comes from MasFlight, an aviation operations technology company based in Bethesda, Md. The company said it calculated the time lost by airlines and passengers caused by more than 19,000 canceled flights and nearly 76,000 delayed flights from Wednesday through Monday.
On Tuesday, the number of delays and cancellations dropped slightly to about 3,500 canceled flights and 6,600 delayed flights, compared with almost 5,300 canceled and 11,000 delayed flights on Monday, according to the flight monitoring site Flightstats.com.
Most of the canceled and delayed flights have been in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, New Jersey and Atlanta.
The National Weather Service issued wind chill advisories and warnings for much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation with the wind chill factor pushing perceived temperatures to as low as 50 below zero.
Of the $1.4 billion in losses, about $970,000 was from travelers who not only lost productivity but also had to pay for meals and hotels because of delayed or canceled flights, according to the MasFlight study. More than 8 million passengers were scheduled to fly on the more than 95,000 delayed or canceled flights from Wednesday to Monday, according to the study.