Around 4,400 flights were canceled worldwide for Christmas, and thousands of flights were delayed due to the Omigron variant of the corona virus, according to surveillance website Flightware, which adds to the frustration of the epidemic. According to Flightaware.comAt 0720 GMT, at least 2,000 flights were canceled worldwide on Christmas Day, including about 700 flights to airports in the United States and 2,000 flights on Friday.
On Thursday, the total number of cancellations was 2,231, according to the same source, which accounts for more than 600 cancellations on Sunday.
Several companies consulted by AFP have cited a new wave of epidemics, particularly affecting employees, as the reason for the cancellation.
Pilots, flight attendants and other staff reported being sick or isolated, forcing many airlines to cancel flights during peak travel times of the year.
Most flights were planned before Omigron appeared, which was more contagious than previous variants.
United Airlines, for example, canceled about 200 flights on both Friday and Saturday, 10% of which were scheduled, according to Flightware.
“The peak of Omigron cases across the country this week has had a direct impact on our team and the people who run our operations.” The company said it was looking for solutions for the affected passengers.
Delta canceled 260 flights on Saturday and about 170 flights on Friday due to omigran and adverse weather.
More than a dozen Alaska Airlines flights were also canceled, with some employees saying they were “vulnerable to the virus” and needed to isolate themselves.
The reason for the high number of cancellations by Chinese airlines was: At 0720 GMT on Saturday, China Eastern canceled about 480 flights, more than 20%; And Air China accounted for 15% of its total scheduled departures.
Frustration and division
After the severe blow dealt by the corona virus at Christmas 2020, the cancellation added frustration to the epidemic as many were unable to reunite with their families over the holidays.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that more than 109 million Americans will leave their area by plane, train or car between December 23 and January 2, an increase of 34% over last year.
But most of those holiday and family reunion plans were created long before the Omigran variant appeared, which dominated the United States and overwhelmed some hospitals and health workers.
Fortunately, these disruptions did not affect Santa’s travel plans, which the North American Space Defense Command (NORAD) has been following for 63 years.
NORAD Commander Lt. Gen. Eric Kenny said, “Santa Claus has been doing so well so far. He’s already been in it for hours and will do it all night.”
President Joe Biden and his wife Jill confirmed the smooth running of Santa’s trip via video conference with NORAD officials on Friday.
The president then spoke by video call with several families, asking what gifts the children should have and told them to stay in bed before midnight, otherwise Santa would not come.
But as a sign of the deep political divisions affecting the United States, communication took a bitter turn when a father who greeted Biden Happy Holidays insulted him.
According to reporters there, the father responded: “Merry Christmas” followed by “Come on, Brandon!”, Which was used contemptuously against Biden by Donald Trump supporters.