Several major airlines, including Delta, Lufthansa, United, and Hungarian low-cost airline WizzAir, have been forced to cancel thousands of flights due to staff shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At least three major airlines have reported that a significant portion of their staff went on sick leave, leaving companies with insufficient capacity for the holidays. The COVID-driven staff shortage and the surge of the Omicron variant led to the cancellation of dozens of flights, writes Telex.
The number of bookings fell sharply from the middle of January to February, leading to
the elimination of 33,000 flights or about 10% of its plan this winter,
said Carsten Spohr, the chief executive of Lufthansa, the flag carrier and largest airline of Germany. “Above all we are missing passengers in our home markets of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Belgium, because these countries have been hit hardest by the pandemic wave,” Spohr added.
In the United States, Delta Air Lines has also cancelled nearly 100 flights due to the problematic weather in certain parts of the country and the Omicron-related staff shortage.
The Hungarian low-cost airline has been one of the most committed airlines in exploring new markets and expanding its capacity with new routes. In early October, Wizz Air announced the launch of new routes from Budapest to Egypt and Jordan, then, a few weeks later came the news about its major expansion in the Ukrainian market and the doubling of its capacity in Ukraine. However, the growing number of COVID-19 cases and the competition in all sectors have taken a toll on the airline, writes Aviacionline.
Twelve of the flights departing from Vienna have already been eliminated: Alghero (AHO), Charleroi (CRL), Cologne (GCN), Dortmund (DTM), Eindhoven (EIN), Faro (FAO), Madrid (MAD), Menorca (MEH), Oslo (OSL), Skavsta (NYO), Tallinn (TLL), and Warsaw (WAW).
One-third of the cancellations affect destinations in Italy, but several routes to Cyprus, Turkey or Norway have also been eliminated. Other airports affected include Warsaw, Poland, (seven); Gdansk, Poland (five); Eindhoven, Netherlands (five); Dortmund, Germany (four); Sofia, Bulgaria (four); and Zaporizhzhia, Greece (three).
Some of the cancelled flights have only been launched recently.
Source: aviacionline.com, minnesota.cbslocal.com, techxplore.com, telex.hu