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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

6,300 flights canceled as Omicron hits Christmas weekend travel

6,300 flights canceled as Omicron hits Christmas weekend travel

More than 6,000 flights around the world have been canceled and thousands delayed over the long Christmas weekend, according to a tracking website, as the highly contagious Omron version plagues millions of people over the holiday.

Adding to the travel chaos in the United States, severe weather in the west of the country is wreaking havoc on roadways and other routes, although it may well be a white Christmas weekend in the northwestern US cities of Seattle and Portland. can bring.

According to flightaware.com, about 2,800 flights were scrubbed around the world on Saturday, including those originating from or departing more than 970 US airports, with more than 8,000 delays as of 01:30 GMT.

On Friday, there were around 2,400 cancellations and 11,000 delays, while Sunday cancellations have already crossed 1,100.

Pilots, flight attendants and other workers who are sick or called to quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 have been forced to leave Lufthansa, Delta, United Airlines, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines and many other short-staff carriers for a year. Flights have been forced to cancel during. peak travel period.

“Help @ United flight canceled again. I want to go home for Christmas,” tweeted a desperate passenger from the US state of Vermont to the airline early Saturday.

FlightAware data shows United canceled about 200 flights on Friday and about 250 flights on Saturday – about 10 percent of those that were scheduled.

Scramble was on to resupply pilots and planes and reassign staff, but Omicron’s boom has stymied the business.

“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crew and the people running our operations,” United said in a statement on Friday.

“As a result, we have unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying affected customers prior to their arrival at the airport,” the airline said.

Similarly, Delta canceled 310 flights on Saturday and already canceled several dozen more on Sunday, saying that “all options and resources – including aircraft and crew – to cover the scheduled flight have been exhausted.” crew re-route and replacement”.

“We apologize to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans,” the company said.

The cancellations added to the gloom of the pandemic for many eager to be reunited with their families over the holidays after Christmas gatherings last year.

Chinese airlines accounted for the most number of cancellations, with China Eastern canceling more than 1,000 flights – more than 20 percent of its flight plan – on Friday and Saturday, with Air China also canceling its scheduled flights during the period. About 20 percent of departures did grounding.

‘Treacherous’ snow conditions

According to estimates from the American Automobile Association, more than 109 million Americans were planning to travel by plane, train or automobile between December 23 and January 2, a 34 percent increase from the previous year.

But most of those plans were made before the outbreak of Omicron, which has become the major strain of the coronavirus in the US, has overwhelmed some hospitals and healthcare workers.

New York state announced on Friday that it recorded 44,431 new daily positive COVID-19 tests, a record, while new cases also rose nationwide.

On the weather front, while unseasonably warm temperatures were bathing the eastern states, the National Weather Service (NWS) announced a winter storm warning, including a deep freeze for significant parts of the west.

“The unusually cold conditions and moisture in the Pacific have resulted in prolonged mountain snow and coastal/valley rain, some of which can be heavy at times,” the NWS said in an advisory.

Snowfall was estimated at 61–122 cm (24–48 inches) this weekend, with more accumulation in some places in the northern and central Sierra Mountains of California and Oregon.

The NWS said travel from the Sierras to the central Rocky Mountains over the weekend would be “sometimes impossible” due to white snow conditions.

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