Lufthansa cancels 33,000 New Year flights for January and February
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Lufthansa has axed 33,000 flights from its New Year schedule amid rising fears over the Omicron variant.
The German flagship carrier announced it will reduce its winter flight plans by “around 10 percent” due to a massive bookings shortfall.
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“From the middle of January to February, we see a sharp drop off in bookings,” chief executive Carsten Spohr said on Thursday. “Above all, we are missing passengers in our home markets of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Belgium because these countries have been hit hardest by the pandemic wave.”
He said flights were running at about 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels, while passenger uptake stood at “roughly half”.
It was a double-whammy of bad tidings for Lufthansa last night, as the company also announced that it had been forced to ground around a dozen flights over the festive period because of a sickness crisis among its pilots. The cancellations will affect Lufthansa’s long-haul flights across the North Atlantic.
Flights to Boston, Houston and Washington were affected, with some flights to Japan also canceled. A company representative told German news agency DPA that they had planned “a very large buffer. But that is not sufficient considering the extremely high sickness rate.”
That news came as American carriers United Airlines and Delta Airlines also grounded 125 and 90 flights respectively for Christmas Eve, as the variant wrought havoc on the health of its crew.
European carriers appeared to be enjoying a Christmas mini-boom, with Easyjet, Ryanair, SAS, and Wizz Air all offering more connections during the holiday break.
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