More than 3,000 flights have been canceled around the world for the days of Christmas Eve and Christmas before the advance of the omicron variant of COVID-19, as reported by the US company Flight Aware, specialized in providing real-time data on flights.
Omicron affects smell less and its symptoms are more like a cold
At 9:00 a.m. local time on the east coast of the United States (14:00 GMT), 2,045 flights had already been suspended around the world, of which 457 had as their destination or starting point the United States.
In addition, 5,180 routes have experienced delays globally this Friday, of which 509 were heading to the US or leaving from that country.
According to Flight Aware, the US airlines with the most delays are United, with 9% of its flights canceled and 3% delayed, and Delta, which had to cancel 6% of its itineraries and 2% were delayed.
In a statement, a Delta spokesperson said the cancellations are coming from a “combination of problems” including weather difficulties in some areas, as well as the impact of the omicron variant, which has left some workers having to stay on. House. According to the airline, its teams had “exhausted all options and resources – including route changes and substitutions of planes and crews to cover flight schedules” before canceling more than 90 flights on Christmas Eve due to weather events and personnel problems. .
Meanwhile, in another statement, United states that omicron is having a “direct impact” on the flight crews and other personnel of the company.
Pulse between airlines and unions
Behind the cancellations in the US, a fight is raging between the managers of the big airlines and the unions.
This Thursday, the pressure group Airlines for America, which represents Delta, United and American, among others, has sent a letter to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, in English), Rochelle Walensky , to ask you to relax the guidelines of that institution on the isolation period that those who have been exposed to the virus must comply with.
Currently, the CDC advises a ten-day isolation, but Airlines for America wants it to be a maximum of five. In response, the union of flight attendants, known as AFA, also wrote Walensky a letter requesting that the ten days of isolation be maintained.
The omicron variant has caused an increase in infections around the world and has caused some European countries, such as Germany, Portugal and Finland, to re-impose restrictions on the leisure and restaurant sectors.
According to the CDC, this variant has already become the predominant one in the United States, since between December 12 and 18 it accounted for 73.2% of new cases.
In Europe, air passenger traffic has already been affected for weeks. According to estimates by the International Council of Airports in Europe (ACI Europe), published this Thursday, it has fallen by 20% in three weeks since South Africa informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of the appearance of omicron.