In the United States, airline cancellations are already on the rise, with 1,125 flights canceled due to personnel shortages caused by growing coronavirus diagnoses. Winter storms promised to make travel even more difficult over the New Year's weekend.
According to FlightAware.com, JetBlue Airways. has canceled 175 flights, or 17% of its schedule, by 4:20 p.m. Thursday in New York. Allegiant canceled 96 flights or 19% of its total schedule. United Airlines Holdings. canceled 199 flights, or 9% of its scheduled flights.
Thousands of flights were postponed over the Christmas holiday weekend and into early this week due to a combination of winter storms and personnel shortages caused by the outbreak of coronavirus cases from the omicron type.
By email, JetBlue noted, "Like many businesses and organizations, we have witnessed an increase in the number of sick calls from omicron." The New York-based carrier has reduced its timetable until January 13 to give customers more time to make other plans.
While new federal guidance reducing the isolation period for many people who test positive to five days from ten is expected to help with staffing, JetBlue expects "the number of Covid cases in the Northeast — where most of our crew members are based –- to continue to surge for the next week or two."
Omicron-related staff shortages were also noted by United and Allegiant Travel Company.
Border limitations linked to the increase in cases have impacted the worldwide outlook for travel, in addition to personnel issues. Cathay Pacific Airways is cutting the number of flights into Hong Kong from outside China by nearly half starting next month. British Airways has announced that flights to the territory will be canceled until March.
The effect is expected to last well into the new year. According to data from a major Newswire, which measures jet fuel consumption, airlines around the world have canceled around 8.4% of the flights they had planned for January in the last four weeks.
After several nations put further limits on cross-border travel to try to halt the spread of omicron, the drop is even more severe in Europe, with 15% of flights canceled in January. One anxiety for British nationals has been alleviated by France's announcement that they will be allowed to travel by car, train, or airline to other places, however, most Britons will not be able to stay in France without a good cause.
Weather in the United States
According to a major Newswire, the US flight schedule is holding up well, with only 3.9% of flights scheduled for next month being canceled.
On Wednesday, the Transportation Security Administration reported screening 2.02 million individuals across the United States.
According to FlightAware, severe winds and precipitation caused cancellations and delays in Denver, Atlanta, and Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon.
Through the weekend, no reprieve is forecast.
According to the National Weather Service, heavy snow is forecast across much of the West on Thursday, with snow and an icy mix "likely to create a swath of dangerous travel conditions New Year's Day from the front range of the Rockies to the Midwest and Great Lakes." More than 650 flights have already been canceled on Friday, with another 400 scheduled for Saturday.
According to Cowen analyst Helane Becker, U.S. airlines would likely have no impact on profitability. Most canceled flights will be rebooked, and carriers may consolidate operations by using larger planes, she said.
By email, Becker stated, "The airlines are doing their utmost to accommodate passengers." "However, in terms of earnings, we don't believe it will have a substantial impact on fourth-quarter results."