- Tens of thousands of airline passengers have been affected by the cancellation of thousands of flights due to increased Covid cases causing staff shortages.
According to the FlightAware data tracking website, over 7,500 flights have been canceled since Friday and over the Christmas weekend. Airlines from China and the United States appear to be the most brutal hit, with more delays and cancellations announced for Monday.
Companies claim that the cancellations result from positive drug tests for airline crews. Staff who have not tested positive but have had contact with infected individuals are being forced to self-isolate.
Covid cases are increasing rapidly worldwide, owing primarily to the Omicron variant. Despite early findings that Omicron is milder than other coronavirus variants, scientists are concerned about the sheer number of infections.
According to FlightAware, over 2,400 flights were canceled on Sunday, with over 800 of them flying to or from US airports. Delta, United, and JetBlue are the worst-affected US airlines.
United had previously warned that an increase in Omicron cases had “had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation” and that it was contacting impacted passengers ahead of their arrival at the airport.
In the United States, Omicron is now the dominant strain. However, China Eastern appears to be the most affected single airline, with over 390 flights canceled on Sunday. More than 120 flights have been canceled at the airport in the northern Chinese city of Xi’an.
More than 13 million people in Xi’an have recently been ordered to stay at home as authorities contain a Covid outbreak. According to America’s Johns Hopkins University, coronavirus has killed nearly 5.4 million people worldwide. More than 279 million confirmed cases have been reported.
Source: BBC News
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