Global Flight Cancellations Rise to More Than 6,000 in Disastrous Christmas Holiday

US Airlines Report Strong Fourth Quarter Despite Christmas Chaos

Several of the top airlines in the United States—including American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United—recently announced their fourth-quarter financial results, which highlighted the industry’s continued success.

On Thursday, American, JetBlue and Alaska Air Group provided updated forecasts highlighting better-than-expected earnings for the full year.


American revealed fourth-quarter and full-year net income of $803 million and $127 million, respectively. The airline also reported record fourth-quarter revenue of $13.2 billion, which represents a 16.6 percent increase over the same period in 2019, despite flying at 6.1 percent less capacity.

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JetBlue officials said operating revenue of $2.4 billion for the fourth quarter of 2022, the highest fourth-quarter operating revenue in company history. Revenue per available seat mile (RASM) also increased 16.1 percent for the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, despite a negative impact from Hurricane Nicole.

Earlier this week, United announced it had exceeded adjusted operating margin guidance in the fourth quarter, reporting an 11.1 percent operating margin. The company also reported a 9.1 percent pre-tax margin, operating revenue growth of 14 percent and increased RASM by 26 percent.

Delta also revealed earlier this month that adjusted financial results for the quarter include operating revenue of $12.3 billion, which is eight percent higher than the pre-pandemic December quarter of 2019. The carrier also said it reached an operating income of $1.4 billion with an operating margin of 11.6 percent, pre-tax income of $1.2 billion and cash flow of $1.2 billion.

Despite Southwest lowering expectations after over 16,700 flights were canceled during the last 10 days of December, the carrier’s operating revenue actually improved. The airline reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $220 million, a full-year net income of $539 million and record fourth-quarter and full-year operating revenues of $6.2 billion and $23.8 billion, respectively.

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