Heathrow Airport flights grounded as Omicron causes festive travel misery

More than 60 flights were canceled at Heathrow Airport because Omicron infections led to staff shortages.

British Airways, Lufthansa and several others have had to cancel flights because crew members or ground staff tested positive or isolated, with further cancellations and delays possible today (Monday).

Employees who did not test positive have had contact with infected people, but then have to isolate themselves.

Hundreds of flights around the world have been affected by the rising number of Omicron infections, with routes in the US being hit hard. The leading US airlines Delta, United and JetBlue were also hardest hit, according to flight data.

JetBlue scrapped 10 percent of its flights on Sunday. Delta canceled five percent and United dropped four percent FlightAware.

United previously warned that an increase in Omicron cases “had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operations,” adding that affected passengers were contacted before they got to the airport.

American Airlines spokesman Derek Walls said the Christmas cancellations were due to illness-related calls related to the virus.

Airlines around the world canceled more than 4,500 flights over the Christmas weekend, as the Omicron variant caused more uncertainty and misery among holidaymakers.

According to an ongoing record on flight tracking website FlightAware, airlines scrapped at least 2,401 flights worldwide on Christmas Eve, with 1,779 flights on the ground worldwide on Christmas Day.

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