Due to a shortage of workers, United Airlines’ chief executive revealed that the airline was cutting its flight schedule after some 3,000 staff test positive for Omicron.
It has been said that the fast-spreading Omicron variant alongside the insufferable weather conditions are largely to blame for the decision.
Taking only Tuesday as an example, the airline cancelled 154 flights, more than any other US airline, according to FlightAware. The company’s Chief Executive Scott Kirby commented that the airline has made a few changes to cope with the staff shortage.
“Our frontline teams continue to put in a tremendous effort during what I know is an incredibly challenging and stressful time — the Omicron surge has put a strain on our operation, resulting in customer disruptions during a busy holiday season. Just as an example, in one day alone at Newark, nearly one-third of our workforce called out sick.”
As additional means to cope with consequences of the cancellations, United will act “early to cancel flights when necessary and [notify] impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport – we’re also reducing our near-term schedules to make sure we have the staffing and resources to take care of customers,” ensures Kirby.
In a letter to employees, Kirby did add that United has seen eight solid weeks without any COVID-19 related deaths among vaccinated employees.
Airlines across the US have been battling with similar complications. Many airlines have similarly had to cancel thousands of flights, citing poor weather conditions and Omicron as the principal reasons for cancellations. Throughout the holiday period, airlines have been dealing with record-breaking ‘sick-calls’ and subsequent cancelled flights.
Since Christmas, SkyWest Airlines cancelled more than 5,100 trips, which is more than any other airline. Southwest Airlines also cancelled flights in the thousands – more than 4,800 to be exact. This is followed by United with 2,800 and Delta with slightly over 2,000 cancellations.