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Omicron variant wreaks havoc on air travel in the US – over 6,000 flights canceled

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Airport lockdown, Flights canceled on information time table board in the airport while coronavirus outbreak pandemic issued around the world

Posted: Sunday, December 26, 2021. 10:11 am CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: There have been over 6,000 canceled flights thus far over the Christmas weekend due to the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, Aljazeera reports.

Citing data from a tracking website called Flightaware.com, Aljazeera reports that 2,400 flights were cancelled on Friday, nearly 2,800 on Saturday and that cancellations for today have already exceeded 1,100. Meanwhile, flight delays have also been a serious problem, with over 19,000 flights delayed between Friday and Saturday.

Pilots, flight attendants, and other staff members from airlines such as Lufthansa, Delta, United Airlines, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines have either had to call in sick or ended up on quarantine as the most contagious variant on record continues to spread. Many other flight carriers have also reportedly been forced to cancel flights due to being short-staffed.

In a statement issued on Friday, United Airlines said, “The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation.”

“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 added.

Reports also show that airlines from China represented the highest number of cancellations. China Eastern reportedly canceled scrapping more than 1,000 flights, which accounts for over 20 percent of its flight plan on Friday and Saturday. Air China has also grounded around 20 percent of its scheduled departures over the weekend.

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