Global airline companies have canceled more than 4,500 flights worldwide during the Christmas weekend, citing staff shortages due to stipulating forced vaccinations. The move has sparked chaos at airports.
US airports accounted for more than a quarter of all cancellations, with United Airlines and Delta being among the worst hit. There were 688 flights pulled across the USA on Friday, and a further 980 called off so far over the peak travel weekend.
The majority of the cancellations came from five airlines, with China Eastern forced to call off more than 1,200 journeys over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Air China, United, Delta, Jet Blue, and Lion Air have reported large numbers of pulled flights, according to FlightAware’s real-time tracker.
Delta also apologized to customers, noting that it had exhausted all options and resources, including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying. The airline attributed the cancellations to both the Omicron variant and poor weather conditions.
German carrier Lufthansa said that it was canceling 12 transatlantic flights over the holiday period due to a massive rise in pilots calling in sick, and despite arranging for a large buffer of additional staff for the holiday period.
The last-minute travel chaos added to the frustration for passengers looking to celebrate with their families over the holidays after pandemic precautions severely impacted Christmas in 2020.
Airlines were expected to see an 184% increase in traffic between December 23 and January 2 from 2020. The US Transportation Security Administration expected to screen nearly 30 million people between December 20 and January 3, 2022.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2021.