Flight cancellations exceed 5,000 over Christmas weekend

Globally, airlines have canceled about 5,700 flights on Christmas Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, according to FlightAware. This includes approximately 1,700 flights within, to or from the United States.

Operational problems in airlines come as millions of people still fly despite the increase in coronavirus cases. The TSA said it screened 2.19 million people at airports across the country on Thursday, the highest figure since the holiday travel surge began a week ago.

Thusday, United airlines (UAL) said he had to “cancel some flights” because of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

“The national peak of Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operations,” said a note from United obtained by CNN.

United canceled 201 flights on Friday, representing 10% of its total schedule, and 238 flights on Saturday, representing 12% of its schedule, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.

United said it is “giving affected customers advance notice of their arrival at the airport,” according to a company statement. “We’re sorry for the disruption and are working hard to book as many people as possible and get them off for the holidays.”

Later Thursday evening, Delta Airlines (DAL) also canceled flights. The airline canceled 173 flights for Christmas Eve, according to FlightAware.

Delta said the cancellations were due to several issues, including the Omicron variant.

“We apologize to our customers for the delay in their vacation travel plans,” Delta said in a statement. “The folks at Delta are working hard to get them to where they need to be as quickly and safely as possible on the next available flight.”

In addition, JetBlue (JBLU) canceled 80 flights, or about 7% of its overall schedule, on Christmas Eve.

Alaska Airlines said in a statement that it had canceled 17 flights because of Omicron on Thursday and that further cancellations were possible on Christmas Eve. The airline canceled 11 flights on Friday.

Thousands of international flights canceled

China Eastern has canceled 474 flights, or 22% of its operations, according to FlightAware. Likewise, Air China canceled around 190 flights, or 15% of its schedule.

Air India, Shenzhen Airlines, Lion Air and Wings Air have also canceled dozens of flights.

Andy Rose, Sharif Paget, Ramishah Maruf, Eric Levenson and Carma Hassan contributed to this report


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