Airlines Cancel More Than 1,300 Flights

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The FAA says its air-traffic control staff may also be under pressure

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The FAA said Thursday that its air-traffic control staff may also come under pressure, as a growing number of agency employees have tested positive for COVID-19, along with the rest of the US population.

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“To maintain safety, traffic volumes at some facilities may be reduced, resulting in delays during peak periods,” an FAA spokesman said. Agency personnel oversee US airspace at control towers across the country.

The FAA’s warning comes after several airlines withdrew their flight plans for similar reasons. JetBlue Airways Corp, which has moved to trim its schedule until mid-January due to a growing number of employees calling in sick, had canceled 177 flights on Thursday, or part of the carrier’s schedule for the day. Information about flying, as of 17%, evening.

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The New York-based airline said late Wednesday that it will be canceling about 1,280 flights as of January 13, aiming to give passengers a head start on shifting their travel plans.

A JetBlue spokesperson said on Thursday, “There may be additional cancellations every day, depending on how sick calls are trending and general staffing challenges, but we expect this active reduction to be canceled on the same day and for our customers.” will reduce the inconvenience to

United Airlines Holdings Inc.

According to FlightAware, 203 flights were canceled as of Thursday, or 9% of its mainline schedule. A spokesperson for the Chicago-based carrier said those cancellations were due to a mix of staffing issues and weather related to COVID.

Delta Airlines Inc.

said it expected to cancel about 250, or 6%, of its mainline and regional flights scheduled for Thursday. The Atlanta-based carrier said it is likely to cancel roughly as many flights per day this weekend, as it aims to “enhance the winter season and reduce bottlenecks from the Omicron version.”

The significant flight cancellations did not go into effect for all US airlines on Thursday. Southwest Airlines Co.

20 flights had been canceled till late Thursday night. A spokesperson said the Dallas-based carrier has seen an uptick in employees testing positive for COVID-19, but “we have yet to see any impact on our operations.”

American Airlines Group Inc.

According to FlightAware, it didn’t even experience many cancellations on Thursday — seven on its mainline schedule. A spokesman for the Fort Worth, Texas, carrier said Covid-related sick calls, weather and maintenance issues contributed to the scrubbed flights this week.

For nearly a week, the airline staff has been facing problems due to bad weather and passengers. Carriers could face another challenge next week if the FAA imposes a flight ban on a new 5G wireless service due to the regulator’s safety concerns on a new 5G wireless service scheduled to go live on Jan.

An FAA spokesperson declined to comment on the potential flight restrictions previously mentioned by the agency.

US aviation and telecommunications regulators and industry officials are working to resolve a long-running dispute on how to avoid such disruptions. US wireless industry leaders have said the new cellular service poses no threat to aircraft.

Write Andrew Tangel [email protected] . Feather

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