Corona pandemic: More than 6,300 flights canceled at Christmas

As of: December 26, 2021 12:34 p.m.

Because of the corona pandemic, more and more pilots are reporting sick. Over the holidays alone, more than 6,300 flights had to be canceled worldwide. China and the US are hardest hit.

So far, more than 6000 flights have been canceled or canceled around the world over Christmas. As data from the website from Saturday evening showed, by then almost 2,800 flights had been canceled worldwide, including almost 1,000 with their destination or departure in the USA. There were also more than 8,000 delays.

On Christmas Eve there had already been 2,400 cancellations and 11,000 delays. So far, around 1,100 flight cancellations have been recorded for Sunday. According to the airlines, the many flight cancellations in one of the main travel times of the year are due to the fact that many pilots, flight attendants and other employees are infected with the corona virus or are in quarantine.

Chinese airlines hardest hit

Most of the cancellations were made by Chinese airlines: China Eastern canceled 1,000 flights on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which was more than a fifth of the flight schedule. Air China also put around 20 percent of its scheduled departures on hold during this period.

Impact of Omikron in the US

The US airlines also had to cancel many flights. According to Flightaware, United Airlines alone had to cancel around 450 flights on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – and thus around ten percent of all scheduled flights. “The nationwide surge in Omikron cases this week had a direct impact on our crews and the people who keep our operations going,” the airline said. The mutated variant of the coronavirus is already responsible for three quarters of new infections in the USA.

The US airline Delta had to cancel at least 300 flights on Christmas Day – after around 170 failures on Christmas Eve. The airline saw no more possibility of being able to offer the flights after all – “including the diversion and the exchange of aircraft and crews,” said Delta.

Flight cancellations at Lufthansa

At the German Lufthansa, too, many flight connections had to be canceled over the holidays due to numerous sick pilots. From December 23 to 26, the main focus was on connections across the North Atlantic to, for example, Boston, Houston and Washington. A total of six long-haul connections to the USA had to be canceled. A return flight to Japan has also been canceled.

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