Santa Barbara Airport remains largely unaffected
By DAN MCCALEB
THE CENTER SQUARE EXECUTIVE EDITOR
(The Center Square) — A surge in COVID-19 cases among airline workers led to more than 500 canceled flights across the U.S. and over 2,000 worldwide.
According to the airline tracking website FlightAware, 544 flights within, into or out of the U.S. were canceled on Christmas Eve.
United Airlines has canceled 181 flights; Delta, 158; JetBlue, 72; American, 13; Spirit, 11; and Southwest, 2. More than 6,000 flights worldwide have experienced delays — more than 1,300 of them within, into or out of the U.S.
But in the midst of hundreds of Christmas Eve flights being canceled due to omicron, flights to and from Santa Barbara have remained largely unaffected.
Santa Barbara Municipal Airport has had no cancellations due to the omicron variant, Deanna Zachrisson, airport business development manager, told the News-Press Friday.
One flight arriving from Phoenix was canceled, but Ms. Zachrisson didn’t attribute that to the omicron variant. All other incoming flights from Phoenix arrived as scheduled, and other flights came in as expected from cities such as San Francisco.
“According to United Airlines, the impact has been largely on the East Coast,” Ms. Zachrisson said.
She added that there have been no COVID-positive cases among Santa Barbara Airport staff.
Elsewhere in the nation, the omicron variant, the dominant coronavirus variant currently infecting people in the U.S., is being blamed for much of the staffing shortages at airlines. Bad weather in certain locations also is leading to cancellations.
Delta Air Lines said it exhausted “all options and resources” to cover scheduled flights, The New York Times reported.
Allegiant and other airlines have also canceled flights.
Today’s flights were also being canceled. As of Friday, that number was 277 within, into, or out of the U.S. and more than 1,200 worldwide.
News-Press correspondent Katherine Zehnder contributed to this report.