(CMR) Over 10,000 flights were canceled worldwide over the weekend, and nearly 2000 on Monday as countries continue to deal with the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The cancellations affected holiday travel plans for millions in the United States, where the issue has been compounded by Winter storms, which resulted in additional cancellations. Persons returning from holiday trips are expected to be significantly impacted by cancellations this week.
Delta, United, JetBlue, Alaska, and other prominent airlines blamed COVID-19 infections and the highly transmissible Omicron variant for the travel woes, CBS reported.
In a statement Sunday, Delta said “winter weather in portions of the U.S. and the omicron variant” were impacting the airline’s holiday weekend flight schedule.
Of 4,155 total mainline and connection flights scheduled Sunday, Delta said it had canceled 161 of the 4,155 flights scheduled for Sunday, with around 40 more cancellations forecasted for Monday.
JetBlue had about 110 cancellations Sunday, with the number expected to increase depending on crew availability.
“We have seen an increasing number of sick calls from omicron…“Despite our best efforts, we’ve had to cancel a number of flights, and additional flight cancellations and other delays remain a possibility,” JetBlue said.
NBC News reported more than 130,000 new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. on Sunday; however, holiday interruptions to testing and data reporting could have affected the count.