Omicron variant: more than 6,000 flights canceled during this Christmas weekend


The Omicron variant will never stop playing spoilers. This weekend, during the Christmas holidays, 6,000 air flights were canceled.

On land, as in the air, the Omicron variant disrupts the Christmas holidays. This weekend, nearly 6,000 flights were canceled by airlines while thousands more were delayed.

According to the Flightaware site, this Saturday evening, there were more than 2,650 flight cancellations, of which 940 were trips linked to the United States, whether they were international or internal connections. More than 6,350 flights were also delayed across the world.

This Friday, about 2,400 cancellations and nearly 11,000 delays had already been identified according to the same source, which already has more than 900 cancellations scheduled for Sunday.

Crews in isolation

Pilots, flight attendants and other staff members had to be quarantined after being exposed to Covid, which forced Lufthansa, Delta and United Airlines to cancel flights.

According to Flightaware, United Airlines had to cancel around 439 flights on Friday and Saturday, or about 10% of those that were scheduled.

« The peak of Omicron cases across the country this week has had a direct impact on our crews and the people who run our operations, » said the US company, which said it is working to find solutions for passengers affected.

Delta Air Lines also canceled more than 300 flights on Saturday, and 170 the day before, again according to Flightaware, citing both Omicron and, occasionally, adverse weather conditions.

« The Delta teams have exhausted all options and resources » before coming to these cancellations, argued the airline.

More than ten Alaska Airlines flights, whose employees said they were « potentially exposed to the virus » and had to self-isolate in quarantine, have also been canceled.

Chinese companies most affected

Chinese airlines were responsible for the most cancellations: China Eastern cut around 540 flights, more than a quarter of its flight plan, while Air China canceled 267 flights, also near quarter of his scheduled departures.

These cancellations disrupt the desire to resume travel this year for the holidays, after a Christmas 2020 hit hard by the pandemic.

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