U.S. airlines scrap nearly 1,000 Christmas Day flights due to Omicron

Yahoo News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. airlines scrapped nearly 1,000 flights on Saturday, the second straight day of massive cancellations as surging COVID-19 infections have sidelined some pilots and other crew members, upending plans for tens of thousands of holiday travelers over the Christmas weekend.

A total of 957 Christmas Day flights, including domestic flights and those into or out of the country, were canceled, up from 690 on Christmas Eve, according to a running tally on flight-tracking website FlightAware.com. Nearly 2,000 flights were delayed.

At least one airline said that it expects hundreds more cancellations on Sunday.

The Christmas holidays are typically a peak time for air travel, but the rapid spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant has led to a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, forcing airlines to cancel flights as pilots and crew need to be quarantined.

United Airlines canceled 230 flights while American Airlines called off 90 flights, representatives for the companies said in separate statements.

“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” United spokesperson Maddie King said. She said the cancellations made up a small portion of United’s 4,000 average daily flights during the holiday season.

“We are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their way for the holidays,” she said.

Winter weather and Omicron forced Delta Air Lines to scrub 344 flights on Saturday, of approximately 3,000 scheduled flights, “after exhausting all options and resources to prevent those cancellations,” a spokesperson for the company said, adding that the impact was likely to persist on Sunday.

“Delta expects more than 300 of its flights will be canceled on Sunday, Dec. 26,” the spokesperson said. “Delta people are working together around the clock to reroute and substitute aircraft and crews to get customers where they need to be as quickly and safely as possible.”

Globally, FlightAware data showed that just over 2,700 flights were called off on Saturday and another 7,049 were delayed, as of 5.30 p.m. EST (2230 GMT).

Among the most impacted U.S. airports were Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International, Los Angeles International and New York’s JFK International. Six out of the 10 global airports most hit by the cancellations were Chinese.

Not all airlines were affected equally. A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines said there were no issues to report with the carrier’s flights on Saturday.

The Omicron variant was first detected in November and now accounts for nearly three-quarters of U.S. cases and as many as 90% in some areas, such as the Eastern Seaboard.

The average number of new U.S. coronavirus cases has risen 45% to 179,000 per day over the past week, according to a Reuters tally.

While recent research suggests Omicron produces milder illness and a lower rate of hospitalizations than previous variants of COVID-19, health officials have maintained a cautious note about the outlook.

Ahead of the Christmas holiday, Americans scrambled for COVID-19 tests and many went ahead with their travel plans.

U.S. officials have said that people who are fully vaccinated should feel comfortable proceeding with holiday travel.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Joel SchectmanEditing by Kieran Murray, Leslie Adler and Nick Zieminski)


6 thoughts on “U.S. airlines scrap nearly 1,000 Christmas Day flights due to Omicron

  1. Makes me wonder if the real truth is a qualified pilot shortage issue
    With them making the jab a requirement to fly and it being an out right FAA violation to do so , pilots are not to be putting shit in their body’s that hasent been proven out and an experimental poison is violating that FAA requirement

    1. minimum 10-12 year testing before becoming FAA recognizable for medical use in pilots …I am one ..I read the rules

      and Im not taking this shit , I dont care what they say or do , and any pilot worth his COMMAND position shouldn’t be either
      and as for the FAA.. just another governmental BS hole in the ground ..but this is where we get to use their rules against the tyrants

      even if this is only a “commercial” rule ..I beg to differ , or argue as it should be across the board .., as no one wants ANY size aircraft coming out of the sky and killing your entire family..On the ground even ,,because the pilot took the jab and now is having heart issues

      this Jab shit is going to ruin a lot of pilots when it comes to passing their medical , if this isn’t the truth already staring us in the eyes , but the MSM will never tell the truth ..yeah its the “weather” and a new Flu variant …please stop insulting my intelligence

  2. FAR 91.17 prohibits the use of “any drug that affects the persons faculties in any way contrary to safety.”
    The FAA generally disallows certain types of drugs that are continuously used for treatment. These include, but aren’t limited to, anticoagulants, antiviral agents, anxiolytics (anti-anxiety), barbiturates, chemotherapeutic agents, experimental, hypoglycemic, investigational, mood altering, motion sickness, narcotic, sedating, antihistaminic, steroids, or tranquilizers.

    Their own rules
    So are pilots violating ?
    Are airlines forcing them to do so
    Is our feds looking the other way
    This is serious shit
    Like serious as a fckin plane crash

    Anti viral listed
    Experimental listed
    Investigational listed
    Pretty much covers the poison jab

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