As A Result Of Omicron, US Airlines Are Under Stress.
The highly contagious Omicron COVID variant has driven up the latest wave of the health crisis in the US. Reuters reports that this added stress to US airlines, some of which would have otherwise experienced upside earnings.
"A multifold increase in daily sick calls, as well as a series of winter storms, have led to mass cancellation of flights," said the report posted Tuesday.
In just one day, nearly a third of United Airlines' staff in Newark City, NJ, requested sick leave over the phone, according to the report.
A spokesperson for JetBlue Airways Corp. also mentioned that JetBlue has seen "a surge in the number of sick calls" while warning of more flight cancellations until Covid-19 cases start to drop, according to the report.
Over 30,600 US airline flights have been canceled since Christmas Eve, about 7% of their scheduled total, according to FlightAware, a flight-tracking service.
As a result of the staff shortage, US airlines are offering incentives or deploying their management personnel to staff frontline operations, Xinhua reported.
The incentives, along with flight cancellations, may further raise the airlines' costs.
Coronavirus problems have dampened expectations of upside earnings for some airlines, according to the report.