Omicron variant causes messy flight cancellations

More than 2,100 flights were still canceled by airlines across the world on Monday.

More than 2,100 flights were still canceled by airlines across the world on Monday, the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 disrupting travel during the holidays with notably ill or quarantined pilots.

According to the latest report from the Flightaware site on Monday at 12:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. GMT), these disturbances mainly concerned China, Indonesia and the United States (a quarter of the total).

Flightaware has recorded nearly 8,000 cancellations over the Christmas weekend, and is already planning 800 for Tuesday. The site had around 80,000 commercial flights a day globally, before the wave of cancellations that began on Friday.

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Pilots, flight attendants and other staff had to be quarantined after being exposed to Covid, forcing companies like Lufthansa, SAS, Delta, United Airlines or Alaska Airlines to cancel flights .

Chinese airlines were behind the most cancellations on Monday: China Eastern cut 418 flights, or 20% of its flight plan, while Air China canceled 196, 17% of its scheduled departures .

Indonesian companies Lion Air and Batik Air canceled 23% and 28% of their flight plans, respectively.

Among the American companies, SkyWest, United, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines, have cut dozens of flights (up to 12% of flights for Alaska Airlines).

Europe seems relatively spared. Air France, in particular, has not been affected by the phenomenon, according to a spokesperson.

Weather conditions, border closures or commercial imperatives may also explain cancellations.

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