Worldwide Flight Cancellations Now Number Nearly 8,000

The Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is generally considered to be less severe than previous strains of the disease, but is much more transmissible.

And that is what is wreaking havoc on the airline industry this Christmas holiday.

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For a fifth straight day today, Monday, December 27, airlines across the globe have had to cancel and delay flights as workers have called in sick and carriers don’t have enough crew members to cover all their flights.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

As of 11 a.m. this morning, another 2,300 flights were canceled worldwide according to the New York Times, which cited data from the flight tracking service FlightAware.

That brings the total to more than 8,000 cancellations over the last five days, a little under half of them coming from U.S.-based airlines.

While bad weather in the western part of the country has contributed to the delays and cancellations, a JetBlue spokesman told the Times that “(We’ve) seen an increasing number of sick calls from Omicron.”

The situation is so dire that German national carrier Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said that the airline would cancel 33,000 flights from mid-January to February 2022, according to CNN.

The airlines are hoping the Centers for Disease Control will lower the number of days that fully vaccinated people who contract Omicron must isolate from 10 to five. That would help return crew members to the frontlines that much sooner.

“Swift and safe adjustments by the C.D.C. would alleviate at least some of the staffing pressures and set up airlines to help millions of travelers returning from their holidays,” Derek Dombrowski, a JetBlue spokesman, told the New York Times.

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