Air chaos in the US: more than 5,000 flights were canceled in the year's first weekend.
The advance of the Omicron variant and the arrival of a snowstorm continues to hinder the airlines' operations.
Airlines canceled more than 5,000 flights in the US on the first weekend of 2022, continuing more than a week of significant air disturbances caused by the expansion of the omicron variant of the coronavirus that has caused a lack of personnel, combined with a snowstorm.
Until 20 GMT, This Sunday, more than 2,400 domestic or international flights taking off from or to the United States were canceled, a figure close to the 2,749 withdrew throughout Saturday. Said flight-tracking service FlightAware.
That noon figure accounted for more than half of the 3,743 canceled flights worldwide. Another nearly 2,400 US flights were delayed, while more than 11,200 were delayed globally.
According to FlightAware, the airlines with the most cancellations were SkyWest and SouthWest, with 510 and 419 suspensions, respectively.
Bad weather wreaked havoc on air traffic this weekend, and many country regions were hit by heavy snow, powerful winds, or even flooding.
Chicago airports, a central transit hub, were hit the hardest on Saturday by a snowstorm: O'Hare canceled 402 flights at origin and 425 at the destination, to which were added 130 at birth and 143 at the destination. Midway airport was followed by Denver (Colorado) and Detroit (Michigan).
On Sunday, other major airports in trouble were Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Houston, and Newark.
Around the world, air traffic has suffered problems since Christmas due to airline personnel issues related to the spread of the highly contagious variant of the Omicron coronavirus.
The lack of personnel due to the covid-19 infections affecting flights has also been evident with the news that has become known regarding United Airlines, which has offered its pilots to triple their salary for much of January to try to minimize cancellations.
Specifically, and according to a statement from United sent this Friday to the specialized media CNBC, the pilots' union and the airline have reached an agreement that will pay more than three times their salary to pilots who work on available flights from December 30 on January 3, and three more times for accepting additional flights between January 4 and 29.
The text also notes that United has registered a "large number" of pilot casualties given the "rapid expansion of the omicron variant of the coronavirus."
Despite solid financial incentives, airline cabin crew, pilots, and support personnel were reluctant to work overtime on vacation. Some airline unions said that many feared contracting COVID-19 and did not welcome the prospect of dealing with unruly passengers.
In the months leading up to the holidays, airlines were looking for employees to secure a strong workforce, having laid off thousands of people in the past 18 months when the pandemic hit the industry.
According to a Reuters tally, US authorities registered at least 346,869 new coronavirus cases on Saturday. As a result, the death toll in the United States from COVID-19 increased by at least 377, to 828,562.
Anthony Fauci, the chief epidemiologist of the White House, warned this Sunday that the increase in coronavirus cases due to the Omicron variant is unprecedented. As he explained, the country is experiencing "an almost vertical increase" in infections but clarified that he is optimistic for the future by estimating that the infection rate could drop significantly in a couple of weeks.
" We are amid a very severe increase in cases, " said epidemiologist head of the US government in the program This Week, chain ABC, and noted that the increasing rate of infection is "really unprecedented."
With the Omicron variant sweeping the world, more than 440,000 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the United States on Friday, nearly 200,000 more than during a peak last February.