Ómicron extends its effects and flight cancellations continue to accumulate

Passengers waiting in line for Delta at Los Angeles International Airport.

Photo: DAVID MCNEW / AFP / Getty Images

The flight cancellations of the Christmas season reached this week: On Monday, airlines suspended more than 1,000 flights in United States.

That the crews have fallen ill with covid-19 It is one of the main causes of damages in one of the periods with the most trips throughout the year, marked by a shortage of personnel.

In 2020, faced with the scourge of the pandemic, airlines encouraged their workers to resign due to the paralysis of air transport; now, those same firms have struggled to try to be competitive again, a problem that Ómicron made worse.

John Grant, an analyst at the travel industry specialist OAG, was quoted as saying by The Associated Press that “during the pandemic, we have seen air crews experiencing leaving the sector never to return, all over the world. Filling those gaps with trained personnel was already a challenge in the recovery before the last variant appeared ”.

Atmosphhere Research Group travel analyst Henry Harteveldt considers airline staffing levels “irrelevant” when Ómicron breaks in.

“We cannot claim that the problems we are seeing now are due to the airlines not having enough employees to work. What we see happening is that employees who were available to work have fallen ill with covid“, he pointed.

As of Friday, firms have canceled about 4,000 flights to, from or within the United States, according to FlightAware.

While Delta, United, JetBlue and American attribute their recent staffing problems to the coronavirus, Australian and European firms indicate that they canceled flights due to the contagion of their staff, but also due to the weather and other factors.

In the northwestern United States, winter weather caused the cancellation of about 250 flights to or from Seattle on Sunday, said Alaska Airlines, which ensures that COVID-19 infections in its employees are not a factor. United, for its part, reported on Monday the cancellation of more than 100 flights due to infections in its crew. Delta said it was considering canceling at least 200.

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