Airlines Cancel Thousands Of Flights Globally With Omicron Ruining Christmas Weekend

Over the Christmas weekend, commercial airlines across the globe canceled over 4,500 flights as a growing wave of Covid-19 infections caused by the Omicron strain brought further uncertainty and suffering for holiday travelers.

According to a complete record on the flight-tracking website FlightAware.com, airline operators worldwide canceled at least 2,401 flights on Friday, which occurred on Christmas Eve and is generally a busy day for air travel. Almost 10,000 additional flights were rescheduled.

According to the website, 1,779 flights were canceled on Christmas Day around the world, with another 402 slated on Sunday.

According to FlightAware statistics, commercial air activity inside the United States and into or out of the nation accounted for more than a quarter of all canceled flights over the weekend.

United Airlines and Airlines were some of the first U.S. carriers to disclose a surge of holiday weekend cancellations, canceling roughly 280 flights on Friday alone, citing staffing issues in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Covid-19 illnesses have risen sharply in recent days in the United States, thanks to the highly transmissible variant Omicron, which was first discovered in November and now accounts for nearly three-quarters of all cases in the United States, with as many as 90% in some areas, such as the Eastern Seaboard.

According to estimates, the average number of new coronavirus cases in the United States has surged 45 per cent to 179,000 each day in the last week.

On Friday alone, New York reported over 44,000 new confirmed illnesses, breaking the state’s daily record. On Thursday or Friday, at least ten other states set new one-day case records.

Increasing hospitalizations were wreaking havoc on medical systems across the United States, with intensive care units in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan prepared for the worst even as they dealt with an earlier wave of Delta variant cases.

Many industry and transportation networks in the United Kingdom were experiencing workforce shortages as sick workers self-isolated, and hospitals cautioned that patient safety could be jeopardized.

According to figures released on Thursday by the Office for National Statistics, one in every 20 Londoners had COVID-19 last week, a proportion that might jump to one in every ten by early next week.

On Friday, government data revealed a new high of 122,186 new infections across the country, marking the third day in a row that the number of recognized cases had surpassed 100,000.

While a new study suggests that Omicron causes less disease and fewer hospitalizations than previous Covid-19 versions, health officials remain worried about the future.

“There is a glimmer of Christmas hope … but it definitely isn’t yet at the point where we could downgrade that serious threat,” Jenny Harries, head of the UK Health Security Agency, told the BBC.

On Friday, France set a new Covid-19 infection record, as the country’s daily total number of cases went over 94,000 and hit a seven-month high in hospitalizations. That forced the the government to call a special meeting for Monday that could result in further public health measures.

Despite the uncertainty and bad news from around the world, millions of Americans continued to travel during a second holiday season marred by the pandemic.

In reaction to the spike in new coronavirus infections, New York intended to severely restrict the number of people allowed in Times Square for its traditional outdoor New Year’s Eve celebration, capping the number of participants at 15,000 people.

According to the White House, the Biden administration will ease restrictions on travel on eight southern African nations imposed last month because to worries about the Omicron variant next week.

(Adapted from Reuters.com)



Categories: Economy & Finance, Geopolitics, Regulations & Legal, Strategy, Sustainability

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