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Variant Omicron | More than 2,000 flights canceled on Friday



(New York) Airlines have had to cancel more than 2,000 flights around the world, especially in the face of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 which disrupts travel during the holidays.

According to the Flightaware website, at 1:50 p.m. there were at least 2,272 flight cancellations on Friday, of which 585 are United States-related trips, whether international or internal.

Many companies questioned by AFP referred to the new wave of the pandemic, which particularly affects crews, as one of the main causes linked to these cancellations.

According to Flightaware, United Airlines had to cancel more than 180 flights on Friday, or 8% of those that were scheduled.

“The peak of Omicron cases across the country this week has had a direct impact on our crews and the people who run our operations,” said the company, which said it is working to find solutions to get them out. affected passengers.


Delta Air Lines employees check in passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport.

Delta Air Lines also canceled 163 flights, according to Flightaware, citing both Omicron and, occasionally, adverse weather conditions.

“The Delta teams have exhausted all options and resources” before coming to these cancellations, argues the airline.

109 million Americans on the move

More than 10 Alaska Airlines flights, whose employees said they were “potentially exposed to the virus” and had to self-isolate in quarantine, have also been canceled.

These cancellations disrupt the desire to resume travel this year for the Holidays, after a Christmas 2020 hit hard by the pandemic.

According to estimates by the American Automobile Association, more than 109 million Americans were expected to leave their immediate area by plane, train or car between December 23 and January 2 – up 34% from the year last.

For example, the airline American Airlines had planned 5,300 flights Thursday, as many as the two previous days. “This represents 86% of our flight program for the same period of 2019”, during the last holiday season before COVID-19 comes at length to hamper most of the travel, said the company.

But most of these trips had been planned before the outbreak of the highly contagious Omicron variant, which spreads at full speed and forces many people to self-isolate even without symptoms.

Two billion gifts

Fortunately, these disruptions did not have any consequences for Santa’s tour, which the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has scrupulously followed for 63 years.

And this thanks in particular to a sensor installed in the nose of Rudolph, one of the reindeer pulling the sled.

“It’s going very well so far, Santa Claus has distributed two billion gifts and he is currently above Pakistan,” Major General Eric Kenny, who commands NORAD for the AFP, told AFP. Canada region, around 1 p.m.

The President of the United States himself was keen to ensure that the distribution went smoothly.

From the White House and in front of the cameras, Joe Biden inquired about Santa’s journey with NORAD, before speaking on the phone to children and families also curious about the sleigh tour.

But the Democratic president was overtaken by the very strong political antagonisms in the United States, when a father, to whom he had just wished happy holidays, launched to him, according to the journalists present: “Merry Christmas, and” Let’s go Brandon! “”

This expression is used by supporters of former President Donald Trump in place of the insult “Fuck Joe Biden”.

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