FAA warns of potential flight delays due to increased COVID cases among employees
Thousands of flights have been canceled in recent days
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is warning that travelers may face delays in the coming days due to an increased number of employees testing positive for COVID-19 -- at a time when Americans have been dogged by flight cancellations due to the ongoing pandemic.
An FAA spokesperson told Fox News that weather and heavy seasonal traffic will contribute to some travel delays in the coming days around New Year's Day.
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"Like the rest of the U.S. population, an increased number of FAA employees have tested positive for COVID-19," the spokesperson said. "To maintain safety, traffic volume at some facilities could be reduced, which might result in delays during busy periods."
It comes at a time when airline have canceled thousands of flights over the holiday period. Flight-tracking service FlightAware showed 1,222 cancellations and 860 delays within, into, or out of the U.S. around 9:30 a.m. ET.
Ten percent of United Airlines flights were canceled and 4% were delayed, 14% of JetBlue Airways flights were canceled and 8% were delayed and 4% of Delta Air Lines flights were canceled and 7% were delayed, according to the real-time flight status tracker.
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A JetBlue spokesperson told FOX Business this week that the airline has seen a surge in the number of sick calls from its employees due to the omicron variant. United Airlines had also attributed the flight delays and cancellations to the nationwide spike in omicron cases.
Although still trailing 2019 numbers, the tally of people flying this holiday season far exceeds last year's total.
The Transportation Security Administration expects the Monday after New Year’s to be one of the busiest days of the holiday season.
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Meanwhile, it isn’t just the airline industry being affected. The Washington Post reported Thursday that Amtrak will reduce its schedule between New Year’s Eve and Jan. 6 as it faces a mix of bad weather and increased COVID-19 cases.
The outlet reports that about two dozen trains on both its Northeast Corridor and long-distance routes will be affected.
Fox Business' Julia Musto, Lucas Manfredi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.