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Widespread flight cancellations continued for a 5th consecutive day amid a surge in COVID-19 infections, bringing the total to about 13,000 since Friday

Airlines have continued to slash flights for a fifth consecutive day.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

  • Airlines are slashing flights for a fifth consecutive day amid rising staff sickness and bad weather.
  • About 13,000 flights have been canceled since Friday morning, according to FlightAware data.
  • Of Tuesday’s cancellations, just under a third are flights within, into, or out of the US.

Airlines are continuing to slash flights as rising numbers of staff are infected by the Omicron coronavirus variant and bad winter weather disrupts parts of the US.

As of Tuesday morning, 2,182 flights set to depart that day had been canceled, according to figures from the flight-tracking website FlightAware. Data from the website suggests that about 13,000 flights have been canceled since Friday morning.

Of Tuesday’s cancellations, 675 — just under a third — were flights within, into, or out of the US, according to FlightAware’s data at the time of writing.

United Airlines has canceled 115 flights, or 5% of its total flights for the day, according to the data.

Alaska Airlines has canceled 50 flights scheduled for Tuesday, or 8% of its flights, and JetBlue has canceled 75 flights, or 7% of its schedule.

Delta has canceled 81 flights, or 3%, and Spirit has canceled 69, or 8%.

SkyWest, which is contracted for some regional flights by Alaska, American, Delta, and United, has canceled 139 flights on Tuesday, or about 6% of its scheduled flights.

American Airlines and SkyWest previously told Insider that they had canceled some flights due to rising cases of COVID-19 among staff. A Delta spokesperson said the Omicron variant had affected the airline’s schedule.

Delta, Alaska, and SkyWest said that harsh weather conditions in parts of the US, including heavy snow in Washington state on Sunday, were also to blame for some cancellations. “Crew-related cancellations due to COVID are no longer a factor,” an Alaska spokesperson said.

The bulk of Tuesday’s canceled flights were operated by Chinese airlines, including China Eastern, which has canceled 415 flights, and Air China, which has canceled 190 flights. The Indonesian airline Lion Air also canceled 124 flights. The three airlines didn’t respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

Airlines canceled about 3,300 flights on Sunday and Monday each, with almost half of these departing from or arriving in the US, according to FlightAware data. Among US airlines, SkyWest and Alaska had the highest number of cancellations on Monday, with SkyWest canceling 440 flights, or about 17% of its schedule, and Alaska canceling 172 flights, or 24% of its schedule.

Airlines also canceled at least 4,200 flights across Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

It’s not just airlines being affected by rising COVID-19 cases. The New York City Transit Authority said on Sunday that subways would be less frequent because of the COVID-19 surge, which had caused staff sickness.

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