More than 2,000 flights have been canceled around the world on Christmas Eve this Friday, an improvement on the new Ômicron variant, according to the watchdog website Fligth Aware. With 460 trips suspended, the United States was the most vulnerable country, accounting for 22% of the total.
Airlines said they were facing staff shortages due to infection or forced isolation of their employees. United Airlines said the increase in the number of cases due to Ômicron “has had a direct impact on our flight crew and the people who operate our operations” and that the affected passengers contacted them before arriving at the airport.
Delta Air Lines said Thursday that it had “exhausted all options and resources, including flight and crew redirects and alternatives to cover scheduled flights – before canceling about 90 flights on Friday.”
In Australia, thousands of holiday trips were affected on Friday, with more than 100 domestic flights canceled from Sydney and Melbourne to other cities. Govt-19 cases are at the highest level in the country since the onset of the epidemic.
A spokesman for Jetstar, which was responsible for several cancellations, said the airline had modified “most” of the affected passengers so that “they could reach their destination just in time for Christmas just hours before the original departure time”.
In Europe, a spokesman for the Eurostar service, which connects Paris with London, announced the cancellation of a limited number of trains due to reduced travel restrictions across the continent.
Many European countries are preparing to impose new restrictions soon after the festive season, including Germany, which will restrict private gatherings to 10 people and close nightclubs from December 28. Football matches will also be held behind closed doors. Portugal has ordered the closure of bars and clubs from December 26 and made it mandatory to work from home until January 9.
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