Airlines canceled more than 750 of the day’s flights in the United States by Wednesday morning, a sign of continuing stress as the industry tries to emerge from a dayslong meltdown ahead of the New Year’s holiday weekend.
The problems began to mount the day before Christmas as air carriers contended with staffing shortages driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus, as well as foul winter weather. Cancellations peaked on Sunday, when more than 1,500 flights into, out of or within the United States — more than 6 percent of scheduled flights — were scrubbed, according to FlightAware.
On Tuesday, airlines canceled nearly 1,300 flights, led by United Airlines, which grounded about 6 percent of its trips, and Delta Air Lines, which canceled 4 percent of its schedule.
The cancellations come during one of the busiest times for air travel and as the industry hopes to resume profitability after two brutal years for travel.
More than 13 million people have been screened at airport security checkpoints over the past week, according to the Transportation Security Administration, down about 18 percent from a similar period in 2019.
But while airline disruptions have grabbed headlines this year, the industry is on track to end the year with fewer cancellations as a share of scheduled flights than in 2019, according to FlightAware data.