Airlines canceled more than 2,600 U.S. flights on New Year’s Day due to a wave of bad weather and an increase in Omicron infections among employees.
By Saturday afternoon, airlines had already canceled more than 1,000 U.S. flights scheduled for Sunday, bringing the number since Christmas Eve to over 13,700 U.S. flights canceled and thousands more. in delay, according to the site web FlightAware flight tracking.
Travel troubles come as airlines expect the Christmas holidays of questyear are among the busiest since the start of the pandemic.
The number of travelers in America has risen to nearly 580 million people, a 79% increase from 2020, but the number is still about 30% lower than in 2019 before the outbreak.
Although Southwest Airlines is in Much escaping some of the major disruptions that hit rivals over the holidays, on Saturday it canceled 473 flights, or 13% of its schedule, and delayed more than 600 more flights.
In turn, the airline suspended its operations at Chicago airports, starting at 1pm on Saturday.
A spokesperson for the airline said flights were halted due to the forecast of wind and snow storms, which will take a long time after their passage to clear the ice and bring the planes back. in fly.
The Federal Aviation Administration also slowed traffic at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the largest hub for American Airlines, due to employees, according to CNBC, who was seen by Al Arabiya.net.
“The weather and heavy seasonal traffic is likely to cause some travel delays in the coming days,” the agency said in a note Friday. “Many FAA employees have tested positive for the test for COVID-19 and traffic volumes can be reduced in some facilities, which could cause delays during busy periods, “he added.
In turn, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways canceled hundreds of flights over the holidays, citing Omicron’s injuries among many flight crews.
Meanwhile, airlines have increased incentives for pilots and flight attendants to catch up and alleviate the staff shortage, which some executives say could last several weeks as Covid cases continue to rise.
The airline pilots ‘association, the United Pilots’ Union, has negotiated three times the pay for pilots who fly open for most of January.
United flight attendants and both cabin crew and Spirit pilots will also receive extra pay during the busy holiday period.
On the other hand, airlines have tried to cancel flights in advance in so that customers don’t get stuck in airport, as JetBlue said it will cancel 1,280 flights from its schedule through mid-January to avoid last-minute cancellations.
This comes as airline executives predict a surge in travel demand in 2022 as they prepare to expand their programs and hire new crews.
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