Covid-19: the spread of the Omicron variant severely disrupts air traffic

Air traffic is slowing down at this end of the year period because of the Covid. The results of the Christmas weekend alone show the extent of the phenomenon.

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Nearly 8,000 flights have been canceled since Friday, December 24 worldwide, all airlines combined: from the German Lufthansa to the British British Airways, including the American Delta and United Airlines. For the day of Sunday, December 26 alone, there were no less than 2,000 flight cancellations, a little over a quarter of which affected trips to or from the United States, not to mention the approximately 11,000 delays recorded.

We imagine that these figures will evolve in the coming hours and days, on an identical trend. These figures are precise and constantly updated by Flightaware, a data and flight monitoring provider. The platform makes it possible to obtain a faster count than if it was necessary to wait and aggregate the data communicated individually by the airlines.

These flight delays and cancellations are mainly due to sick leave of staff, flight crew and on the ground, which disrupted the entire logistics chain. Countries that have already closed their borders or established strict health rules for travelers do not pose a problem in themselves since it is anticipated by the companies. What is really crippling since last week is the growing number of pilots, hostesses and other staff, placed in quarantine after being exposed to Covid.

Rail side, questioned by franceinfo, SNCF talks about train cancellations “marginal” and only on regional trains but not on main lines. In any case, it is too early to assess the financial impact on the companies affected. But we are already worried at Air France-KLM. The Franco-Dutch company must face the confinement in force in the Netherlands, which could again seriously dig its accounts and jeopardize its restructuring plan.

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