TEMPE, Ariz. — US Airways Group Inc. said Wednesday that severe winter storms on the East Coast in February cost it $30 million in lost sales as the carrier had to cancel thousands of flights and suspend operations for six days at three major airports.
The airline said it canceled 7.1 percent of its flights last month because of the storms — the highest cancellation rate since it was acquired by America West in 2005.
US Airways, which has more departures on the East Coast than any other airline, said its traffic fell to 3.85 billion revenue passenger miles from 4.04 billion a year earlier. A revenue passenger mile represents one paying passenger flown one mile.
The number of available seats, called the airline’s capacity, also fell as the carrier was forced to park planes to wait out the snow. But its occupancy rate rose as passengers from canceled flights were diverted to fill empty space on other flights.
US Airways’ operations were suspended for three days in February at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, two days at Philadelphia International which is one of its base airports and one day at New York’s LaGuardia.
On Tuesday, Continental Airlines Inc. said it lost $25 million due to the storms. The carrier, which has a base in Newark, N.J., is the only other major airline to report sales losses related to the snow.
In a bright spot in February, US Airways said more lucrative business travelers are returning to the skies. Its corporate booking sales leaped 35 percent last month compared with a year earlier. Many businesses cut corporate travel during the recession, while others put frequent fliers in cheaper coach seats to save money.