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US flight cancellations continue as Omicron, extreme weather rages on

US flight cancellations topped 1,000 for the 12th straight day Thursday, as airlines continue to battle disruptions related to the Omicron variant and severe winter storms.

More than 1,500 flights within, into, or out of the US were canceled as of Thursday morning, according to tracking data from FlightAware. Nearly 900 US flights were delayed.

The chaotic streak began on Christmas Eve, as the highly contagious Omicron variant drove a renewed surge of COVID-19 cases and exposures. Airlines have reported crew shortages during the uptick.

But the Omicron variant is just one concern for airlines. Severe winter weather in the Midwest and along the East Coast also caused widespread disruption in recent days.

Southwest Airlines canceled 539 flights as of Thursday morning, or 18% of its planned daily schedule. The company’s stock was flat in early trading.

United Airlines canceled 217 flights, or 10% of its daily schedule. Alaska Airlines nixed 110 flights, or 15% of its slate. Delta Air Lines canceled 36 flights and JetBlue canceled seven flights.

Stranded travelers at Terminal 4 of JFK Airport on Jan. 3.
ZUMAPRESS.com

The flight disruptions appear likely to continue in the coming days. Airlines have already preemptively canceled more than 700 US flights scheduled for Friday.

Data released this week by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health provided a glimpse into the impact Omicron has had on airline staffs.

At least 71 American Airlines staffers based in Los Angeles have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest county data. The JetBlue Airways terminal at Los Angeles International Airport has 42 confirmed cases, while the Southwest Airlines terminal has six cases.

People crowding Miami International Airport as flight cancellations continue to disrupt New Year plans.
People crowding Miami International Airport as flight cancellations continue to disrupt New Year plans.
AFP via Getty Images
Passengers wait to collect their bags at Harry Reid International Airport on Jan. 2.
Passengers wait to collect their bags at Harry Reid International Airport on Jan. 2.
AFP via Getty Images

P/S LAX, the private terminal for commercial flights, has 13 positive cases.

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