Airlines across the globe are having to cancel thousands of scheduled flights as the Covid pandemic continues to cause travel chaos at one of the industry’s busiest times of the year.
Monday and Tuesday of this week saw a combined total of 5,600 flights cancelled globally, with a further 19,000 flights delayed, CNN has reported, quoting figures from tracking website FlightAware.
Globally, airlines cancelled more than 6,000 flights on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, many of the cancellations due to airline staff and crew calling in sick.
In the United States, more than 1,200 flights were cancelled and more than 5,000 were delayed on Sunday alone due to staff absences.
Delta said it was working to get all stranded travellers home as quickly as possible, saying in a statement, ‘We apologise to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans. Delta people are working hard to get them to where they need to be as quickly and as safely as possible on the next available flight.’
Though not to the same extent, European airlines are also experiencing cancellations. German airline Lufthansa has announced that it will cancel 10 percent of its winter flight schedule due to problems inflicted by the burgeoning effects of the pandemic. Its CEO Carsten Spohr spoke to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung last week saying that that due to ‘a sharp drop in bookings’ the airline will have to cancel 33,000 flights from mid-January to February 2022, or 10 percent of the group’s winter flight schedule.