Omicron: Scores of airline travelers have been hit by the grounding of thousands of flights as the increase in Covid cases causes staff shortages.
According to the FlightAware data tracking website, about 7,000 flights have now been cancelled since Friday and over the Christmas weekend. Chinese and US airlines have suffered the most, with further delays and cancellations announced for Monday.
According to sources, the cancellations are a result of airline crew members falling prey to Covid. Staff who have not tested positive but have been in contact with those infected are then being forced to self-isolate. Recorded Covid cases are rising sharply around the world, largely driven by the Omicron variant. On Sunday, more than 1,800 flights were cancelled – over 560 of which were to or from US airports, according to FlightAware.
The worst-hit US companies are Delta, United and JetBlue. United warned earlier that a spike in Omicron cases had “had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation”, adding that it was contacting impacted passengers in advance of them coming to the airport. Omicron now is the dominant strain in the US.
However, the most affected single airline appears to be China Eastern with more than 390 scrapped flights on Sunday. The airport in the northern Chinese city of Xi’an has reported more than 100 flight cancellations.
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