|From: Sam||12/23/2021 8:45:58 PM|
|United Airlines Holdings Inc. is canceling dozens of flights over the holiday weekend, as a surge of Covid-19 cases impacts crews, and Delta Air Lines Inc. also cited the variant as a factor behind a number of cancellations.|
At both airlines, the cancellations account for a relatively small share of planned flying.
United has canceled about 131 flights scheduled for Friday, about 7% of its planned schedule, and about 28 that were slated for Sunday, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking site.
United said it was scrubbing some flights as a proactive step in an effort to minimize last-minute disruptions, as some pilots and flight attendants won't be able to work because of Covid-19 infection or exposure.
"The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation," United said in a statement.
A United spokeswoman said the carrier is taking steps such as using larger aircraft and rerouting pilots to cover flying.
Delta said there are multiple factors behind its decision to proactively cancel some flights in the coming days, including the impact of the Omicron variant and potential bad weather in some areas.
"Delta teams have exhausted all options and resources -- -- including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying -- -- before canceling around 90 flights for Friday," the airline said in a statement.
Airlines have said they expect this week and next to be among the busiest since before the pandemic. U.S. airports have been bustling even as restaurants, entertainment venues, and other businesses have started to feel the effects of the surging case numbers.
Other carriers have cautioned in recent days that there could be worker shortages that disrupt operations, as the Omicron variant races across the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends that fully vaccinated people with breakthrough infections remain isolated for 10 days -- -- something that the chief executives of Delta and JetBlue Airways Corp. have asked to shorten.
Airlines for America, a trade group that represents major carriers including United, Delta and JetBlue, echoed that request in another letter Thursday.
"That workforce is essential to enable Americans who need to travel domestically or internationally and to keep cargo supply chains operational," A4A CEO Nick Calio wrote to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. "As with healthcare, police, fire and public transportation workforces, the Omicron surge may exacerbate personnel shortages and create significant disruptions to our workforce and operations."
The CDC on Thursday updated its guidance to recommend that healthcare workers with Covid-19 who don't have symptoms can return to work after seven days with a negative test and that isolation times can be further cut if there are staffing shortages. The agency specified that its new guidelines apply only to healthcare workers.
Several carriers were already dealing with labor shortages, as they restored flights this year, though United has largely avoided many of those problems.
United was among the first major U.S. companies to impose a strict vaccine mandate on its workforce. The airline has said that the most of its 67,000 U.S. employees are vaccinated, including all its customer-facing workers, while 2,000 requested exemptions for medical or religious reasons. Delta has imposed a $200 monthly surcharge for unvaccinated workers and has also said the most of its workforce is vaccinated.
Write to Alison Sider at firstname.lastname@example.org
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|To: Sam who wrote (1689)||12/24/2021 5:14:12 AM|
|From: Glenn Petersen|
| More than 1,600 Christmas Eve flights are canceled globally amid the spread of Omicron.|
New York Times
December 24, 2021
Thousands of would-be travelers received the same troubling message on Thursday: a last-minute cancellation of their Christmas Eve flight because of the recent spike of Omicron cases.
United Airlines canceled at least 150 flights scheduled to leave dozens of airports on Friday — along with 44 more that were supposed to take off on Saturday, according to Flight Aware. Other airlines, including Delta, JetBlue and Allegiant, did the same.
In Australia, dozens of flights were also canceled at airports in the major cities of Sydney and Melbourne as coronavirus cases in the country surged to their highest since the start of the pandemic.
The number of cancellations globally as of Friday morning added up to more than 1,600, the Flight Aware website showed.
It was the latest blow to the holiday season, mainly caused by the new and highly transmissible Omicron variant, which now accounts for more than 70 percent of new coronavirus cases in the United States. Nearly 170,000 people are testing positive every day in the country, a 38 percent increase over the last two weeks, according to The New York Times’s coronavirus tracker .
In its statement, United said that Omicron’s “direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation” led to the cancellations. Crew members had been calling in sick, according to a spokesman, Joshua Freed, who said that United alerted customers as soon as it could. And while Mr. Freed said he didn’t expect the airline to cancel more flights, it remained a possibility.
“We are really managing this day by day,” he said. “There may be some more flight cancellations for Saturday. It’s possible.”
In its statement, the airline said it was working to rebook as many people as possible in time for the holidays.
Customers took to social media to air their grievances about the cancellations.
In Australia, which has recorded more than 500 Omicron cases, many airline staff members are unable to work after being identified as close contacts of positive coronavirus cases, airline officials said. Under government requirements, they are required to isolate for seven days.
“A large number of our frontline team members are being required to test and isolate as close contacts given the increasing number of cases in the general community,” a representative for Jetstar Airways said by email on Friday afternoon local time. “As a result, we have had to make some late adjustments to our schedule.”
Eighty flights arriving at and departing on Dec. 24 from Sydney, the country’s most populous city, had been canceled, a spokesman for the airport said, out of a total of 500.
According to Melbourne Airport’s flight-tracking website, more than 70 flights departing or arriving from the airport on Dec. 24 had also been scrapped, out of 700 flights. Brisbane Airport said that 45 flights had been canceled.
— Giulia Heyward and Yan Zhuang
Christmas Eve Flights Canceled and Times Square Celebration Scaled Back Amid Omicron - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
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|From: Sam||12/25/2021 12:43:46 PM|
|U.S. airlines scrap hundreds of Christmas Day flights due to Omicron|
|Reuters December 25, 2021 11:51:00 AM ET |
WASHINGTON, Dec 25 (Reuters) - U.S. airlines canceled close to 900 flights on Saturday, the second straight day of massive cancellations as surging COVID-19 infections have sidelined some pilots and other crew members, upending plans for tens of thousands of holiday travelers over the Christmas weekend.
More than 880 Christmas Day flights, including domestic flights and those into or out of the country, were canceled, up from 690 on Christmas Eve, according to a running tally on flight-tracking website FlightAware.com . Around 800 flights were delayed.
The Christmas holidays are typically a peak time for air travel, but the rapid spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant has led to a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, forcing airlines to cancel flights as pilots and crew need to be quarantined.
United Airlines canceled 230 flights, a company spokesperson said.
"The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation," spokesperson Maddie King said. She added that the cancellations made up a small portion of United's 4,000 average daily flights during the holiday season.
"We are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their way for the holidays," she said.
FlightAware data showed that Delta Air Lines scrubbed 292 flights as of 11:23 a.m. EST (1623 GMT), while a spokesperson for American Airlines said the carrier had to call off 90 mainland flights. Globally, a total of more than 2,500 flights were called off on Saturday and some 4,200 others were delayed.
"Our operation has been running smoothly, and unfortunately a number of COVID-related sick calls led us to make the difficult decision to pre-cancel some flights scheduled for today," a spokesperson for American Airlines said.
Not all airlines were affected equally. A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines said there were no issues to report with the carrier's flights on Saturday.
The Omicron variant was first detected in November and now accounts for nearly three-quarters of U.S. cases and as many as 90% in some areas, such as the Eastern Seaboard.
The average number of new U.S. coronavirus cases has risen 45% to 179,000 per day over the past week, according to a Reuters tally.
While recent research suggests Omicron produces milder illness and a lower rate of hospitalizations than previous variants of COVID-19, health officials have maintained a cautious note about the outlook.
Ahead of the Christmas holiday, Americans scrambled for COVID-19 tests and many went ahead with their travel plans.
U.S. officials have said that people who are fully vaccinated should feel comfortable proceeding with holiday travel.
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|From: Sam||1/18/2022 2:44:06 PM|
|AT&T will delay some 5G deployent amid aviation standoff|
|Reuters January 18, 2022 12:37:00 PM ET|
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -AT&T said it would agree to temporarily defer turning on some wireless towers near key airport runways to avert a looming aviation crisis but the White House is still pushing Verizon Communications to follow suit.
Discussions are centered around that proposal that would also allow about 90% of the wireless tower deployment to go forward, sources told Reuters, though it would impact 5G deployment near many large population centers.
Two of the sources said it would require delaying just over 500 towers from being activated near airports. The vast majority are Verizon towers.
"We are frustrated by the FAA's inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services," AT&T said.
The announcement came as the White House is working to prevent a massive disruption in flights ahead of Wednesday's scheduled 5G deployment and actively engaged on the issue, a senior official said.
Airlines are preparing to cancel a significant number of passenger and cargo flights in the coming hours to prepare for new 5G C-Band service reuters.com that starts on Wednesday, after warning on Monday of "catastrophic" impacts. Airlines are concerned that the issue could prevent them from flying Boeing 777s and other widebody jets to many key airports.
The chief executives of major U.S. passenger and cargo carriers reuters.com on Monday said new 5G service could render a significant number of widebody aircraft unusable, "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas" and cause chaos for U.S. flights.
Airlines have urged wireless carriers to not turn on some wireless towers near airport runways in a bid to avoid most of the flight disruptions.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned that potential interference could affect sensitive airplane instruments such as altimeters and significantly hamper low-visibility operations.
The airlines asked Sunday "that 5G be implemented everywhere in the country except within the approximate 2 miles (3.2 km) of airport runways" at some key airports.
Verizon's rollout plan is much more aggressive than AT&T's. It is significantly impacted by the Biden administration request to delay using some towers near airport runways.
Alaska Airlines Chief Executive Ben Minicucci said Tuesday in a statement "there's a serious threat of mounting cancellations, delays and diversions of our passenger and cargo flights if action is not taken immediately."
AT&T and Verizon, which won significant C-Band spectrum in an $80 billion auction last year, on Jan. 3 agreed to buffer zones around 50 airports to reduce interference risks and take other steps to cut potential interference for six months. They also agreed to delay deployment for two weeks until Wednesday.
Verizon Chief Executive Hans Vestberg told employees on Jan. 4 the carrier saw no aviation safety issue with 5G, but reluctantly agreed to a two-week delay that expires Wednesday. Verizon did not comment Tuesday.
"Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially be grounded," wrote the chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and others.
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|From: Sam||1/21/2022 2:02:38 PM|
|Biden administration suspending 44 U.S flights by Chinese carriers|
By David Shepardson
January 21, 2022 12:50 PM ESTLast Updated an hour ago
WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. Transportation Department said Friday it would suspend 44 China-bound flights from the United States by four Chinese carriers in response to the Chinese government's decision to suspend some U.S. carrier flights over COVID-19 concerns.
The Biden administration action came after Chinese authorities suspended a total of 44 United Airlines , American Airlines (AAL.O) and Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) flights after some passengers tested positive for COVID-19.
The suspensions will begin on Jan. 30 with Xiamen Airlines’ scheduled Los Angeles-to-Xiamen flight.
The decision will cut some flights by Xiamen, Air China (601111.SS), China Southern Airlines (600029.SS) and China Eastern Airlines (600115.SS). The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately comment.
The Transportation Department said China's suspension of some flights "are adverse to the public interest and warrant proportionate remedial action." It added that China's "unilateral actions against the named U.S. carriers are inconsistent" with a China-U.S. bilateral agreement.
The department said that if China revised its "policies to bring about the necessary improved situation for U.S. carriers, the Department is fully prepared to once again revisit the action." But it also warned that if China cancels more flights, "we reserve the right to take additional action."
The number of U.S. flights being scrapped has surged since December, as infections caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus soared to record highs in the United States.
Beijing and Washington have sparred over air services since the start of the pandemic. In August, the U.S. Transportation Department limited four flights from Chinese carriers to 40% passenger capacity for four weeks after Beijing imposed identical limits on four United Airlines flights.
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|From: Sam||1/26/2022 7:08:49 AM|
| American Airlines cuts thousands of flights in March as pandemic hopes clash with reality|
TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY 7:07 AM ET 1/26/2022
Symbol Last Price Change
|AAL ||16.46 ||0 (0%)|
|LUV ||43.85 ||0 (0%)|
|BA ||204.1 ||0 (0%)|
|QUOTES AS OF 04:00:00 PM ET 01/25/2022 |
American Airlines (AAL) has cut thousands of flights from its schedule for the month of March as omicron, pilot shortages and delivery delays on Boeing’s 787 planes hinder the recovery from the two-year-old COVID-19 pandemic.
The Fort Worth-based airline has axed nearly 40,000 flights from its March plans since the middle of December, including more than 1,600 arrivals and departures out of DFW International Airport, the airline’s biggest hub, according to Dallas-based Airline Data Inc.
An American Airlines(AAL) spokesman confirmed the cuts and said the airline is working with passengers in advance to make sure that changes create “minimal” impact on customers.
Other airlines, including Atlanta-based Delta and Chicago-based United, have made similar cuts in recent weeks as they face the same issues confronting American. Delta has cut about 30,000 flights for March in recent weeks and United has cut 10,000 flights.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines(LUV), which only releases schedules five to six months in advance of flights, hasn’t made the same kind of flight reductions for March.
Many of American’s schedule reductions came in mid-December and the rest occurred earlier this month, the company said.
The cuts come during another key travel period — spring break, when airports often see their biggest crowds of the year. American made similar cuts to its January and February schedules, although those months are often the weakest travel periods of the year for airlines between Christmas holidays and the beginning of the spring and summer travel rush.
For DFW travelers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that destinations from the North Texas airport are disappearing, but there will likely be fewer daily flights to cities such as Midland and St. George, Utah. DFW is losing about 52 flights a day in March but will still see as many as 1,512 arriving and departing flights on Tuesday, March 8, its busiest day for flights during the spring break rush.
Airlines often make flight plans 10 or 11 months in advance, and that means making cuts or additions as COVID-19 continues to make the future unpredictable, said Jeff Pelletier, co-founder of Airline Data Inc.
“It’s left airlines in a wait-and-see mode,” Pelletier said. “But all the airlines are getting better at balancing the unknown — and there are a lot of unknowns right now.”
While American Airlines’ leaders are optimistic the omicron-fueled COVID-19 surge has peaked, the airline continues to reduce its expectations for the coming months as it faces the other realities caused by the ongoing global health crisis, including supply chain and labor constraints.
“Everything that we see suggests that there is a pent-up desire for people to get out on the road, whether it’s for leisure or business,” American Airlines(AAL) president and incoming CEO Robert Isom said last week.
Between bottlenecks with its Boeing 787 jets and pilot training, American Airlines(AAL) is being forced to cut back, even though leisure travelers are eager to fly and businesses are gradually sending more employees on trips.
American Airlines (AAL) said last week that it’s talking with Boeing(BA) about additional compensation for delays on 19 Boeing 787 jets that were supposed to be delivered in 2021, planes the carrier needs for long-haul travel to Europe, South America, Asia and for cross-country flying.
“As for 2022 capacity, much of our plans are subject to the uncertain timing of deliveries of our aircraft,” American Airlines(AAL) chief financial officer Derek Kerr said last week. “As I mentioned previously, we removed these aircraft from our near-term schedule to protect our customers.”
Boeing (BA) halted delivery of its signature 787 Dreamliner jets last year because of production issues. The Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer still hasn’t indicated when those planes may be OK’d for delivery.
American Airlines (AAL) also needs to hire as many as 2,000 pilots this year to make up for a big chunk of the company’s pilots hitting retirement age and for others who took early retirement packages during the pandemic.
But getting pilots hired and trained takes months, and airlines are also trying to figure out how to hire pilots without taking staff pilots from regional airlines that are critical to its network.
“The biggest issue that we’re dealing with is the throughput of pilots and getting them through training,” Isom said. “We’ve invested an incredible amount of resources [in] having training assets ready to go. Those are all coming online.”
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|From: Glenn Petersen||2/5/2022 8:29:47 PM|
|Delta asks Justice Dept. to put unruly passengers on national no-fly list|
By Kelly Yamanouchi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
7 hours ago
Delta Air Lines is asking the U.S. Justice Department to create a national no-fly list of passengers who have been convicted for on-board disruptions.
Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta, wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland this past week saying such a “national, comprehensive unruly passenger ‘no-fly list’” that would bar those listed from traveling on any airline is a “much-needed step.”
The Atlanta-based airline has already put nearly 1,900 people on its no-fly list for refusing to comply with mask requirements, and submitted more than 900 names of passengers to the Transportation Security Administration for the agency to pursue civil penalties, according to Bastian.
The rate of unruly passenger incidents on Delta has nearly doubled since 2019 and the airline has two former Justice Department prosecutors on its legal team to cooperate with federal prosecutors when employees are involved, Bastian wrote. Four incidents on Delta have resulted in federal charges against customers in the past 30 days, he added.
He said the airline is offering more self-defense and de-escalation training for flight attendants and other employees who deal with customers, and expanding mental health coaching for employees “to help ensure they have the support they need in a challenging environment.”
The Justice Department did not immediately comment on the request from Delta.
It’s not the first time Delta has tried to create a national no-fly list of unruly passengers. Last year, Delta said it had shared the names of its no-fly list of more than 600 unruly passengers with the Federal Aviation Administration and asked other airlines to also share their no-fly lists.
“A list of banned customers doesn’t work as well if that customer can fly with another airline,” Delta said in that memo in September 2021. However, carriers sharing banned traveler lists could raise privacy or antitrust issues. A list of passengers federally convicted for their behavior could be a much narrower category of unruly passengers, based on federal prosecutions rather than airline decisions.
The Justice Department in November said it would prioritize federal prosecution of unruly passengers who commit crimes that “endanger the safety of passengers, flight crews and flight attendants.” It noted that federal law prohibits assaults, intimidation and threats of violence that interfere with flight crews. Garland said in that announcement that “when passengers commit violent acts against other passengers in the close confines of a commercial aircraft, the conduct endangers everyone aboard.”
Last month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said it had arrested three women who had assaulted a Delta security officer in a jetway at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, alleging that after they were denied boarding for a flight, they “viciously assaulted an airline security officer by beating him to the floor with his radio and then kicking and punching him in the face and body while he was down.”
The FAA says so far this year, there have been 323 reports of unruly passengers, including 205 related to face masks. The issue came to the fore a year ago when the FAA put in place a “zero tolerance” policy for unruly and dangerous behavior on airline flights and the federal mask mandate was put in place. Unruly passengers represent a small fraction of total travelers and the number of reported unruly passengers has declined since the spike in incidents in early 2021, but officials say the incidents are still a problem.
Delta asks Justice Dept. to put unruly passengers on national no-fly list (ajc.com)
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