Airlines Hit by Wave of Weather Problems

This summer is proving a difficult season for flyers, due primarily to Mother Nature. Thunderstorms have created day after day of delays, canceled flights and frustrations for passengers, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest. For example, US Airways, with a tremendous number of flights in the Northeast, had 11,171 flights delayed between June 19 and June 30 because of weather, about 40 percent of its operations. About two percent of its flights were cancelled, and the airline said the past few weeks have been the most challenging it has had since 2004. Delta Air Lines, also a big East Coast player, was reporting delays of 45 minutes or longer during heavy thunderstorm days like June 25 and June 26. Separately, on Thursday the Federal Aviation Administration is set to unveil a new system designed to reduce delays and canceled flights. Called the Airspace Flow Program, the new program will allow air traffic controllers to more efficiently halt and delay air traffic at will because of weather. The system uses computers to help controllers better target flights likely to be delayed due to weather.

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