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Record Freeze ‘Will Cost Airlines $50M to $100M’

JetBlueUS airlines have cancelled about 20,000 flights since Jan. 2 due to record cold and snow, American Shipper reports.

The financial impact from the extreme weather will be between $50 million to $100 million for the airline industry, the publication says, citing an industry note by Cowen and Company. Because of its Northeast focus and operation-wide shutdown, JetBlue will be one of the hardest-hit airlines.

Cowen and Company says new pilot rules, which took effect over the weekend and call for rest periods for pilots, also exacerbated the issue by leading to cancellations rather than delays.

The below-freezing temperatures also forced some power plants to shut and oil refiners including Marathon Petroleum and Exxon Mobil saw cold-related outages as well, Reuters reports. The arctic blast could cost the US economy up to $5 billion including lost productivity and retail sales, Evan Gold, senior vice president at Planalytics, told the news agency.

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