RICH THOMASELLI | TravelPulse.Com
Sunday, January 2, was set to be a critical day for the airlines, a litmus test of sorts to gauge how busy the last day of the Christmas/New Year’s holiday season would be and whether there was any end in sight to the unprecedented delays and cancellations plaguing the industry.
This morning, we got our answers.
The Omicron- and weather-related issues persist worldwide, but fliers are still flying and airline stock prices went up in early trading on Monday, according to CNBC.
Another 2,100 flights were canceled as of Noon today, adding to the 5,400 canceled over New Year’s weekend and bringing the total to more than 13,000 U.S. flight cancellations since the problems first began on December 23. CNBC used data from flight-tracking service FlightAware to provide those numbers.
The first clear signs that the problems are dissipating have finally started to emerge, however. Passenger volume will likely decrease now that the holidays are over. Airlines so far have only canceled 250 flights for Tuesday, January 4.
We should also finally start to see the repercussions of the December 27 decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce the quarantine period from 10 days to five, meaning carriers will start to get some of their employees back.
And yet, despite rapidly spreading Omicron cases that have further depleted airline staffs; despite some people’s reluctance to travel because of this new variant of COVID-19; and despite winter weather issues the last week or so in the west, Midwest and, today, in the mid-Atlantic, people are still getting on airplanes and airlines are still getting people from Point A to Point B.
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), 2,023,309 passengers were processed through checkpoints at U.S. airports on Sunday. That is 92 percent of the capacity that flew on the same day in 2019 and almost 84 percent of the number of people who got on a plane on January 3, 2020, about 7 weeks before pandemic first hit.
The 2,203,309 fliers also represent the fifth time in the last eight days the TSA has processed 2 million or more passengers in a day, and 12th time in the last 18 days.
Moreover, airline stock prices went up in early trading this morning. CNBC noted that share prices for American and United were both up more than four percent, and Delta and Alaska were up three percent each.
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