Local December 29, 2021 | 4:30 pm

Flight cancellations continue due to spread of the Omicron variant

New York, United States

Flight cancellations worldwide, caused mainly by the expansion of the Omicron variant of the covid-19 virus, remain for the fifth day in a row, adding up at 15.30 GMT on Tuesday to a total of 2,450 worldwide.

According to the FlightAware.com portal, which monitors the state of air traffic in real-time, a third of the cancellations (809) had as their origin or destination US airports, in which the meteorological reasons of blizzards and snowstorms have also been added.

In any case, the most affected airports are the Asian ones. In origin, those registered the most cancellations are Jakarta, Beijing, and Shanghai, in this order; in destination, Beijing, Jakarta, and Seattle.

In the registry by airlines, the most affected have been China Eastern and Air China (426 and 196 cancellations, respectively).

Yesterday, Monday, there were a total of 3,260 cancellations worldwide, almost half of them (1,474) in the United States, a trend that had started last Friday and that was growing during the weekend.

The general policy of the airlines is to require proof of vaccination plus a PCR test before boarding an international flight. Still, the main epidemiologist of the US Government, the now-famous Dr. Anthony Fauci, suggested yesterday that these requirements also be extended to internal flights in the United States, where only PCR testing is required.

The United States has a vaccination rate of 61%, which is low compared to other countries such as Portugal (88%), Chile (87%), and Spain (90%), so that measure, if imposed, may be unpopular.

The United States, which opened its borders to international tourism on November 8 after a ban on “non-essential travel” that lasted a year and a half, does not seem inclined to establish new air restrictions or close vital sectors for the economy such as leisure. For example, the New York authorities have refused to cancel the end of the year festivities.

In China, a country that remains closed to tourism and the vast majority of travelers from abroad the policy is very different: Chinese aviation authorities currently limit international flights to and from China to 2.2%.

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