Dec 31, 2021 - Health
New Year's flight cancelations pile up as Omicron spreads
The omicron variant and winter storms are prompting fresh waves of U.S. flight cancelations heading into the New Year's holiday weekend.
Driving the news: More than 1,300 domestic flights scheduled for Friday have been cancelled as of 11:30 a.m. on Friday, per FlightAware's latest tally of flights into the U.S., departing or within the country.
- The tracking site reports nearly 2,660 cancelations globally for the same period. Major carriers including United, JetBlue and Delta have called off planned flights.
Why it matters: The pandemic-related disruptions have scuttled thousands of flights in recent days as COVID cases mount, leaving airlines short staffed.
- "They just can’t keep up with the amount of folks that are testing positive," Angelo Cucuzza, director of organizing at the Transport Workers Union, tells the New York Times.
- JetBlue tells Bloomberg: "Like many businesses and organizations, we have seen a surge in the number of sick calls from Omicron."
By the numbers: Delta said Thursday it expects 200-300 canceled per day over the weekend.
- Per FlightAware, Friday's cancelations include 11% of United's flights and 14% of JetBlue's flights.
- The U.S. has seen an 84% rise in COVID cases over the past week, according to the Washington Post's data tracking.
- Axios’ requests for comment to United, Delta and JetBlue were not returned by publication time.
Go deeper: Omicron surge and storms disrupt air travel for 4th straight day