PATRICK CLARKE | TravelPulse.Com
JetBlue is scrapping approximately 1,280 flights or nearly 10 percent of its flight schedule from Thursday through January 13 as COVID-19 continues to impact its pilots and flight attendants.
“We expect the number of COVID cases in the Northeast—where most of our crewmembers are based—to continue to surge for the next week or two,” a JetBlue 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.”
“This past week has been one of our most difficult operating periods during the pandemic,” JetBlue department leaders wrote in a Tuesday note to staff that was seen by CNBC. “The exponential growth in Omicron cases over just a couple of days is at a level that no one could reasonably prepare for.”
JetBlue isn’t the only carrier expected to experience headaches heading into 2022 as the frequent delays and cancellations, which have climbed into the tens of thousands worldwide since Christmas Eve, are likely to continue for several weeks.
However, in a move that could help speed up airlines’ operational recovery, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its guidance on recommended isolation time to five days from 10 for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic following requests from airlines including JetBlue.
According to flight-tracking website FlightAware.com, more than 1,070 flights within, into, or out of the U.S. have been canceled as of 10:30 a.m. ET Thursday. Wednesday saw an additional 1,083 flights canceled and already, more than 530 flights have been canceled for Friday.
In Other NEWS