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JetBlue cancels flights in Pittsburgh, 10 other cities

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By The Associated Press
Sunday, Feb. 18, 2007
 

NEW YORK - JetBlue, still reeling from a snowstorm that forced hundreds of canceled and delayed flights, extended the cancellation of flights through Monday at several airports, including those to and from Pittsburgh International Airport.

All JetBlue flights were canceled Monday, as they were Saturday and Sunday, in and out of Pittsburgh and 10 other airports: Columbus, Ohio; Richmond, Va.; Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Austin and Houston, Texas; Nashville; Portland, Maine; and Bermuda.

Officials also warned additional cancellations were possible and told travelers to call ahead before heading to the airport. Affected customers may receive refunds or rebook their flights, the airline said.

"JetBlue is taking this aggressive, unprecedented action to end rolling delays and cancellations, and to operate a new schedule reliably," the New York-based carrier said in a statement posted on its Web site.

JetBlue's problems began Wednesday when its operations at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport were overwhelmed by the snow and ice storm. With dozens of grounded jets and not enough gates to unload passengers, some flights were stranded on the tarmac for up to 10 hours.

On Thursday, malfunctioning brakes on a JetBlue plane left about 90 passengers stranded on a Pittsburgh International runway for five hours.

The pilot of JetBlue Airways Flight 1050 reported the brakes were frozen and not working after the aircraft headed down a runway to take off about 8:20 a.m. Rescue vehicles responded to the ice-blanketed airfield while workers unsuccessfully tried to repair the brakes, and passengers onboard snacked on animal crackers, nuts and water.

Later, a bus shuttled 20 passengers at a time to the airport's Airside Terminal, where the waiting persisted and weather conditions forced more outbound flights to be scratched. The flight finally departed at 7:43 p.m., a JetBlue spokeswoman said.

JetBlue said it tried to get its system back to normal by selectively canceling flights Thursday and Friday, but long delays continued because of constraints.

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