U.S. airlines have had a difficult start to 2022 as the Omicron variant’s tightening and winter weather conditions have forced thousands of flights to cancel.
According to FlightAware surveillance data, carriers canceled more than 1,900 flights inside, inside and outside the U.S. on Monday morning. Another 1,000 flights were delayed.
Southwest Airlines canceled at least 440 flights, or 12 percent of scheduled flights a day, while New York’s JetBlue canceled 136 flights, or 13 percent of the plan.
United cut 103 flights on Monday, Delta 86 flights and American Airlines 36 flights.
Monday’s mass cancellations came after 5,400 U.S. flights were canceled over the New Year holiday weekend.
Airlines have come under pressure during the busy holiday season due to Omicron-related crew shortages and seasonal weather.
Over the weekend, winter storms snowed much of much of the Midwest, leading to severe weather conditions. Rough weather is expected on the East Coast this week.
Despite the cancellation, shares of major U.S. airlines were flat or slightly higher in pre-market trading on Monday.
The Federal Aviation Administration has warned of ongoing interruptions due to the Omicron option.
“Like the rest of the U.S. population, the number of FAA staff has increased and passed a positive test for COVID-19,” the FAA said in a statement last week. “It is possible to reduce traffic at some facilities to ensure safety, which can lead to delays during busy times.”
Airlines are taking steps to remedy the breaches. Last week, JetBlue canceled hundreds of flights scheduled for Jan. 13. Officials say the decision was made to give customers enough time to create alternative travel plans.
“Like many businesses and organizations, we have seen an increase in the number of patient calls from Omicron,” a JetBlue spokesman said. “We have entered the holiday season with the highest level of staff we have since the pandemic began and are using all available resources to meet our staff needs.”
According to many reports, United Airlines is offering pilots three times their regular salary for additional travel this January to make up for crew shortages. Spirit Airlines has offered hostesses double pay until January 4th.
The Omicron option is one of several challenges facing U.S. airlines.
The airline sales group for America has warned of future flight delays after AT&T and Verizon Biden’s administration rejected a request to delay the launch of its 5G network service. Airlines say the flight could disrupt aircraft communications and pose a security risk.