JetBlue Cuts 1,280 Flights Over Next Two Weeks
JetBlue Airways is reducing its schedule through January 13 by about 1,280 flights due to a surge in crew members falling sick from the Omicron coronavirus variant.
Several airlines have canceled hundreds of flights since Christmas Eve, due to staff shortage. But it seems the the Omicron variant will continue to affect air travel through next year as well.
“We expect the number of COVID cases in the northeast – where most of our crew members are based – to continue to surge for the next week or two,” JetBlue’s spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Reuters. “This means there is a high likelihood of additional cancellations until case counts start to come down.”
The 1,280 flights amount to about 10% of JetBlue’s schedule.
COVID-19 cases in the United States have been soaring with new highs in the past few days. The average number of daily confirmed cases has surpassed 300,000 over the past seven days. Deaths are at 1,543 daily, which is about half of the highest numbers back in January.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this week said it was not currently considering a vaccine mandate for domestic flights. However, the White House has not ruled it out as an option. The has also CDC shortened the recommended isolation time for Americans with asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 to five days from the previous guidance of 10 days. That should help airlines with staffing issues.