Operations gearing up at Philadelphia International Airport

Philadelphia International Airport, which curtailed flights for the superstorm, is back in business.

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, Delta Air Lines resumed nine flights in and out of Philadelphia.

Lufthansa Airlines landed a 4:30 p.m. jet from Frankfurt, and sent a 6 p.m. return flight to Germany.

US Airways Group, which operates 430 daily departures from Philadelphia, planned to resume a normal schedule Wednesday morning.

Airport spokeswoman Victoria Lupica confirmed that Delta began flying Tuesday, as did Lufthansa.

"Wednesday they plan to have normal operations. Everybody. Business as usual," Lupica said.

US Airways began ferrying aircraft to Philadelphia Tuesday afternoon to prepare for the resumption of flights, said US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher.

US Airways first outbound flights Wednesday may be limited, but will ramp up during the day with the hope of nearly full operations by the afternoon, Lehmacher said.

US Airways, which transports nearly 70 percent of passengers here, will also resume flights Wednesday at Washington's Reagan National and Dulles airports.

US Airways will not operate Wednesday at New York's LaGuardia and JFK airports and Newark, N.J., which suffered extensive water damage and loss of electricity from the storm.

United Airlines will resume operations Wednesday afternoon in Philadelphia, but not before Thursday at Newark, LaGuardia or JFK, said spokesman Charles Hobart.

"Delta will resume limited flying to LaGuardia and Newark Liberty Wednesday evening for a Thursday morning restart," said spokesman Morgan Durrant. "At John F. Kennedy International, Delta expects to resume limited domestic flying Wednesday afternoon. Flying has resumed at other U.S. East Coast airports."

In the wake of Sandy, airports from Washington to Boston closed, and 17,000 flights have been canceled since Saturday, according to FlightStats.com.

The storm may have cost U.S. airlines $500 million of revenue and $100 million in profits, wrote airline analyst Glenn Engel, of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, in a client note.

The greatest impact will be for airlines that fly in the Northeast: JetBlue, US Airways, United, and Delta, he said.

Several factors may have "mitigated" the impact, including that late October is an off-peak period for leisure travel. "Even business travel is below normal around Halloween," Engel said. Also travelers may simply postpone trips rather than cancel them, and airlines will be able to recapture the revenue.

 Philadelphia International Airport fared well through the storm. In areas where US Airways has ticket counters and gates, "we only found very minimal damage," Lehmacher said. "There was a shattered window above the ticket counter. There was a roof leak by gate C-30 and some other small leaks."

 


Contact staff writer Linda Loyd at 215-854-2831 or lloyd@phillynews.com.