Over 2,000 flights cancelled as Omicron hits holiday travel

Published December 25, 2021
A passenger sits with luggage at John F. Kennedy International Airport after airlines announced numerous flights were cancelled during the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant on Christmas Eve in Queens, New York City, US, on Friday. —  Reuters
A passenger sits with luggage at John F. Kennedy International Airport after airlines announced numerous flights were cancelled during the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant on Christmas Eve in Queens, New York City, US, on Friday. — Reuters

NEW YORK: Over 2,000 flights have been cancelled and thousands delayed around the world as the highly infectious Omicron variant disrupts holiday travel.

According to tracking website Flightaware.com at 1540 GMT on Friday, a total of 2,118 flights had been cancelled worldwide, including 500 flights originating from or headed to US airports, and over 5,700 delayed.

Pilots, flights attendants and other staff have been calling in sick or having to quarantine after exposure to Covid, forcing Lufthansa, Delta, United Airlines and many other airlines to cancel flights.

According to Flightaware, United cancelled more than 170 flights on Friday, or nine per cent of those that were scheduled.

“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 said in a statement.

“As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance

of them coming to the airport,” the airline said, adding that it was working to rebook passengers as quickly as possible.

Similarly, Delta cancelled over 145 flights, saying it has “exhausted all options and resources — including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying.”

“We apologise to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans,” the company said.

More than 10 Alaska Airlines flights were axed, after employees said they were potentially exposed to Covid-19 had to self-isolate in quarantine.

The cancellations added to the pandemic frustration for many Americans who were eager to reunite with their families over the holidays, after last year’s Christmas was severely curtailed.

Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Failure of accountability
Updated 26 Jan, 2022

Failure of accountability

THE resignation of PTI government’s accountability czar Barrister Shahzad Akbar is a blow to the party’s central...
26 Jan, 2022

New freight service

THE launch of a new railway freight service connecting the Karachi port with the industrial and commercial centres ...
26 Jan, 2022

Flying curbs

THE unexpected decision of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to continue its ban on PIA operations to EU...
Under pressure
Updated 25 Jan, 2022

Under pressure

It is fairly obvious that PM is cognisant of the trouble that his government is in from a political and economic perspective.
25 Jan, 2022

Ukraine tensions

TENSIONS between Nato and Russia over Ukraine have reached a critical pass, and there are genuine fears of a fresh...
25 Jan, 2022

Defeating polio

WITH Pakistan in the decisive stage of the battle against polio, every vaccination campaign is of significance as it...