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United and Delta cancel flights




Airlines canceled hundreds of flights as the omicron variant mixed schedules and reduced staffing of some airlines during the busy holiday season. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines together canceled more than 600 flights on Friday and Saturday. As of early Friday night, Delta had canceled 149 flights on Friday and 188 on Christmas Day, according to FlightAware. (Other factors, such as the weather, also cause cancellations.) United canceled 189 flights on Friday, about 10% of the schedule, and 140 on Saturday. Scheduled cancellations continued until Sunday. Not all airlines said that COVID disrupted their travel plans. American Airlines said it had nothing to report, while Southwest Airlines said “things are going smoothly.”[ads1]; JetBlue, which FlightAware said had canceled nearly 150 flights during Friday and Saturday, did not respond to a request for comment. Flight delays and cancellations related to staff shortages have been a common problem for the US aviation industry this year. Airlines urged workers to quit in 2020, when flights collapsed, and were taken for lack of staff this year as the journey recovered. “The nationwide increase in omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people operating our operation,” United said in a statement. Delta said it canceled flights on Friday due to the impact of the omicron and the possibility of bad weather after it had “exhausted all options and resources – including redirection and replacement of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flights.” The airlines both said they were trying to rebook passengers. While some travelers canceled holiday plans due to increasing numbers of cases, many others stayed for the holidays during some of the busiest travel days of the year. The Transportation Security Administration said it expects to screen nearly 30 million people from December 20 to January 3, compared to nearly 44 million during the last pre-pandemic holiday season. German-based Lufthansa said on Friday that it was canceling a dozen long-haul transatlantic flights over the Christmas holidays due to a “massive increase” in sickness absence among pilots. The cancellations on flights to Houston, Boston and Washington come despite a “large buffer” of additional employees for the period. The airline says it could not speculate whether COVID-19 infections or quarantines were responsible because it was not informed about the type of disease. Passengers were booked on other flights. The Australian airline Jetstar said many of its workers had to test and isolate due to the spread of covid, which led to delays and cancellations at the last minute. It said it had rebooked the majority of passengers. FlightAware said Jetstar had 45 cancellations on Thursday and 34 on Friday. According to FlightAware, there are more than 3,900 canceled flights on Friday and Saturday, with almost half of the cancellations from Chinese airlines. About 30% of the affected flights – more than 1,100 – were to, from or within the United States. This is still a small fraction of global flights. FlightAware says they have tracked more than 100,000 arrivals in the last 24 hours. Coronavirus infections driven by the new variant have also put pressure on staff at hospitals, police departments, supermarkets and other critical operations that have struggled to maintain a full contingent of frontline workers. by letting people go back to work faster after testing positive or being exposed to the virus. Delta chief Ed Bastian was among those who urged the Biden administration to take similar steps or risk further disruption to flights. On Thursday, the United States shortened the rules for covid-19 isolation for healthcare professionals only .___ McHugh reported from Frankfurt, Germany.

Airlines canceled hundreds of flights as the omicron variant mixed schedules and reduced staffing of some airlines during the busy holiday season.

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines together canceled more than 600 flights on Friday and Saturday. As of early Friday night, Delta had canceled 149 flights on Friday and 188 on Christmas Day, according to FlightAware. (Other factors, such as the weather, also cause cancellations.) United canceled 189 flights on Friday, about 10% of the schedule, and 140 on Saturday. Scheduled cancellations continued until Sunday.

Not all airlines said that COVID disrupted their travel plans. American Airlines said it had nothing to report, while Southwest Airlines said “things are going smoothly.” JetBlue, which FlightAware said had canceled nearly 150 flights during Friday and Saturday, did not respond to a request for comment.

Flight delays and cancellations related to staff shortages have been a common problem for the US aviation industry this year. Airlines encouraged workers to quit in 2020, when air traffic collapsed, and was taken for lack of staff this year as the journey recovered.

“The nationwide increase in omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people operating our operation,” United said in a statement. “As a result, we have unfortunately had to cancel some flights and notify affected customers before they arrive at the airport.”

Delta said it canceled flights on Friday due to the impact of the omicron and the possibility of bad weather after it “emptied all options and resources – including rerouting and replacements of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flights.”

The airlines both said they were trying to rebook passengers.

While some travelers canceled holiday plans due to increasing numbers of cases, many others stayed for the holidays during some of the busiest travel days of the year. The Transportation Security Administration said it expects to survey nearly 30 million people from December 20 to January 3, compared to nearly 44 million during the last pre-pandemic holiday season.

Germany-based Lufthansa said on Friday that it was canceling a dozen long-haul transatlantic flights over the Christmas holidays due to a “massive increase” in sick leave among pilots. The cancellations on flights to Houston, Boston and Washington come despite a “large buffer” of additional employees for the period. The airline says it could not speculate whether COVID-19 infections or quarantines were responsible because it was not informed about the type of disease. Passengers were booked on other flights.

The Australian airline Jetstar said many of its workers had to test and isolate due to the spread of COVID, which led to last minute delays and cancellations. It said it had rebooked the majority of passengers. FlightAware said Jetstar had 45 cancellations on Thursday and 34 on Friday.

According to FlightAware, there are more than 3,900 canceled flights on Friday and Saturday, with almost half of the cancellations from Chinese airlines. About 30% of the affected flights – more than 1100 – were to, from or within the United States. This is still a small fraction of global flights. FlightAware says they have tracked more than 100,000 arrivals in the last 24 hours.

Coronavirus infections driven by the new variant have also put pressure on staff at hospitals, police departments, supermarkets and other critical operations that have struggled to maintain a full contingent of frontline workers.

To alleviate staff shortages, countries including Spain and the United Kingdom have reduced the length of COVID-19 quarantines by allowing people to return to work more quickly after testing positive or being exposed to the virus.

Delta chief Ed Bastian was among those who urged the Biden administration to take similar steps or risk further disruption to flights. On Thursday, the United States shortened the COVID-19 isolation rules only for healthcare professionals.

___

McHugh reported from Frankfurt, Germany.



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