Almost two weeks after Hurricane Harvey wrecked havoc through Houston and the surrounding areas, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines have both announced that they will be returning to normal operations this week.
— Houston Bush Airport (@iah) August 31, 2017
Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport is home to United’s second largest hub and around 450 daily departures, and the airline has been slowly ramping up operations since the airport reopened on August 30th. On Tuesday, the airline had around 330 flights take off from Houston or around 73% of its normal operations. The airline is expected to operate a full schedule of flights starting on Friday.
United said that its main goal now is reassuring customers wary of cancellations flying through Houston, with United Airlines spokesman Charlie Hobart saying that “now that our systems are current and the schedule is in place if the website says a flight is operating, we intend to operate it.”
Meanwhile, at Houston’s Hobby Airport, Southwest is working to ramp up its schedule back to its usual 152 daily departures. On Tuesday, the airline was operating around 70% of those flights according to a spokesperson and is expected to return to a full schedule on Thursday.
All international airlines have resumed service to Houston as well, operating full schedules. Delta Air Lines has said that it is running its normal 37-flight schedule out of Houston now, and American Airlines said that it will be running its normal schedule out of Houston today. American operates a similar amount of flights as Delta.
Even as operations go back to normal, the impact of Hurricane Harvey is being felt in the airlines’ financial books. United Airlines stated that they’re predicting a 4% drop in their pre-tax profit margin over their previous forecast, due to United’s 7,400 canceled flights. Spirit Airlines said that Harvey will cost them an estimated $8.5 million. And all airlines are not out of danger yet, with Hurricane Irma hitting the Caribbean and on track to slam into South Florida, impacting major aviation hubs such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Featured image by the Houston Airport System.