JetBlue cuts around 1,280 flights through mid-January due to omicron obstacles

Dec 30 (Reuters) – JetBlue Airways Corp is cutting its schedules through Jan. 13 by about 1,280 flights due to an increase in crew members who became ill from the omicron variant of the coronavirus, a spokesman for The airline.

Airlines have canceled hundreds of flights every day in the United States since Christmas Eve as they grapple with staffing shortages due to COVID-19 infections and bad weather in some parts of the country.

“We expect the number of COVID cases in the Northeast, where the majority of our crew members are, will continue to rise over the next week or two,” the JetBlue spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“This means there is a high probability of additional cancellations until the case count begins to decline,” he said.

COVID-19 cases in the United States have been reaching new highs in recent days, with the average number of confirmed infections per day at a record 258,312 in the past seven days, a Reuters tally showed on Wednesday.

The Wall Street newspaper reported JetBlue’s moves Wednesday night.

Earlier in the week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it is not currently considering a vaccine requirement for domestic flights. Later, they shortened the recommended isolation time for Americans with asymptomatic COVID-19 cases to five days from a previous 10-day guideline.

(Reporting by Anirudh Saligrama in Bengaluru. Editing in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)

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