On Saturday, approximately 1,000 flights were cancelled by US airlines, marking the second consecutive day of major cancellations due to the COVID virus. Some pilots and other crew members have been placed on leave due to 19 diseases, disrupting plans for tens of thousands of holiday passengers during the Christmas weekend.
According to a running tally on flight-tracking website FlightAware.com, a total of 957 flights were cancelled on Christmas Day, including domestic flights as well as those entering and out of the nation, up from 690 on Christmas Eve. Almost 2,000 flights were cancelled.
Hundreds of extra cancellations are expected on Sunday, according to one airline.
The Christmas holidays are always a busy period for air travel, but the quick spread of the highly transmissible Omicron form has resulted in a spike in COVID-19 infections, prompting airlines to postpone flights while pilots and personnel are quarantined.
United Airlines cancelled 230 flights, while American Airlines cancelled 90, according to separate statements from the two airlines.
United spokesman Maddie King stated, “The countrywide rise in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the employees who operate our operation.” During the holiday season, she added, the cancellations accounted for a small percentage of United’s 4,000 typical daily flights.
“We’re doing all we can to rebook as many folks as possible and get them on their way for the holidays,” she added.
Winter weather and Omicron prompted Delta Air Lines to cancel 344 of its nearly 3,000 planned flights on Saturday, “despite trying all means and efforts to avert those cancellations,” according to a company representative.
“Over 300 Delta flights are expected to be cancelled on Sunday, December 26,” a spokeswoman stated. “Delta employees are working around the clock to reroute and replace aircraft and crews so that passengers may travel to their destinations as fast and safely as possible.”
As of 5.30 p.m. EST, FlightAware data revealed that slightly over 2,700 flights were cancelled and another 7,049 were delayed throughout the world on Saturday (2230 GMT).
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International, Los Angeles International, and New York’s JFK International were among the most affected U.S. airports. Chinese airports accounted for six of the top ten global airports affected by cancellations.
Not all airlines were impacted in the same way. Southwest Airlines claimed there were no disruptions with the carrier’s flights on Saturday, according to a representative.
The Omicron strain was initially discovered in November and currently accounts for approximately three-quarters of all cases in the United States, with as high as 90% in some places, such as the East Coast.
According to a Reuters calculation, the average number of new coronavirus infections in the United States has surged 45 per cent to 179,000 each day in the last week.
While new research shows that Omicron causes milder sickness and fewer hospitalizations than prior COVID-19 versions, health officials remain worried about the future.
Americans hurried for COVID-19 exams before the Christmas break, and many went forward with their trip plans.
Officials in the United States have stated that persons who are completely vaccinated should feel safe travelling during the holidays.
Connect with us and share your inspiring stories on Twitter.