Airlines struggle with more cancellations as omicron leads to staffing shortages

Delta Air Lines planes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2013. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

(The Center Square) – Nearly 2,000 flights within, into or out of the U.S. were canceled as of 8 a.m. eastern Monday, according to the tracking site FlightAware, as the airline industry’s ongoing staffing and other issues during the holiday travel season continued.

Domestically, 1,854 flights were canceled Monday and an additional 809 flights were delayed.

Globally, more than 3,200 flights were canceled Monday as New Year’s travelers sought to return home. More than 4,400 international flights were experiencing delays.

Southwest Airlines canceled 437 flights as of 8 a.m. Monday, JetBlue 136, and United, 103. Delta had canceled 78 flights; Alaska Airlines, 73; and Spirit, 43.

The omicron variant, the dominant coronavirus variant currently infecting people in the U.S., is being blamed for much of the staffing shortages. Omicron is significantly more transmittable than earlier variants but early studies indicate its symptoms are far less severe on most individuals who contract it.

Bad weather in certain locations also is leading to cancellations.

On Sunday, more than 2,700 flights within, into or out of the U.S. were canceled, while more than 4,400 were canceled globally.

​Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at dmccaleb@thecentersquare.com.

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