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US airlines cancel more flights over Omicron surge, winter weather

An ongoing wave of US flight cancellations continued Wednesday as embattled airlines grapple with winter storms and staffing shortages due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

More than 1,600 flights within, into or out of the United States were canceled as of midday Wednesday, according to tracking data from FlightAware. Additionally, more than 2,500 US flights were delayed.

The latest round of cancellations occurred as winter weather battered much of the Midwest and the East Coast. Airlinesare also struggling to fill out flight schedules amid crew shortages driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Flight schedule disruptions have persisted in January after widespread complications during the busy holiday travel period. Airlines have canceled more than 1,000 US flights for 11 consecutive days.

Southwest Airlines canceled 508 flights as of Wednesday afternoon, or 16% of its planned schedule for the day. The company’s stock sank less than 1% as of midday trading.

United Airlines canceled 157 flights, or 7% of its slate. Shares were flat.

Alaska Airlines canceled 112 flights, while Delta Air Lines canceled 41 and American Airlines canceled 17. JetBlue did not appear on FlightAware’s tracker after canceling dozens of flights in recent days.

Several airlines have taken steps to address ongoing and future staffing shortages.

Earlier this week, JetBlue confirmed to The Post that it has preemptively canceled hundreds of flights scheduled through Jan. 13. The company cited the impact to its crews and noted its decision was meant to allow customers to alter their plans.

Multiple airlines, including United and Spirit Airlines, have boosted pay for their crews in a bid to address the shortages.

This article originally appeared on New York Post

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