Airlines log busiest days since early 2020 over Thanksgiving but omicron poses new challenge

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  • The cancellations were minimal compared to the massive disruptions earlier this year.
  • Southwest and American were among airlines that offered employees additional bonus pay for holiday trips.
  • Concern over the Omicron version led to new travel restrictions in the UK, US, Japan, Israel and elsewhere.

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American Airlines had some of the busiest days in Thanksgiving week, as passengers returned to reunite with family after a subdued holiday last year before the coronavirus was declared a pandemic.

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The Transportation Security Administration investigated nearly 2.5 million People on Sunday, the most since February 15, 2020. This was about 15% less than the number of people TSA screened two years ago.

Airports, planes and parking lots were packed, but passengers and airlines mostly lucked out with good weather and a small number of cancellations, with massive disruptions affecting hundreds of thousands of passengers over the course of several episodes since this summer. Unlike the.

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Airlines including Southwest and American offered flight attendants and other employees extra pay or bonuses for working holiday trips and meeting attendance goals.

Despite a boom in air travel during the holidays, airlines now face a new challenge as more countries report cases of the omicron version of COVID-19, just as international travel was resuming as more Countries had loosened travel rules.

Airline officials said bookings surged when travel restrictions banning international tourism from more than 30 countries in the US were lifted on November 8. International travel is critical to a carrier's financial recovery from the pandemic.

The new variant was first detected by South African scientists.

The new strain has raised concerns among health officials about whether it can be transmitted more easily. Cases of Omicron have been found in South Africa, the UK, Israel, Hong Kong, Canada and other countries. Dutch health authorities said on Sunday they had found at least 13 Omicron cases out of 61 passengers who tested positive for Covid on two flights from South Africa.

Starting Monday, the Biden administration is temporarily banning visitors from South Africa and seven other southern African countries, less than a month after it banned visitors from South Africa, Britain and more than 30 other countries. Removed pandemic rules.

Both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, the only US carriers with nonstop service to South Africa, said on Friday they were not changing their schedules.

In one of the strictest new rules, Israel banned foreign visitors for two weeks. Japan followed a similar ban, which is effective Tuesday. The UK will require travelers to undergo a PCR test upon arrival from abroad and self-isolate until a negative result is obtained.

Concerns about the variant and new travel restrictions plunged airline and aerospace stocks on Friday, though they were up marginally in premarket trading on Monday.

"There is still much to learn about this version and how people will react to travel as a result, but we believe there is a lot to be learned about this version," MKM Partners airline analyst Conor Cunningham wrote in a note on Sunday. Stocks are for volatility." ,

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