Covid Staff shortages cause travel chaos and cancel Christmas plans around the globe

  • Covid is causing mass cancellations of flights because airlines blame shortages in staff.
  • British Airways flights were delayed by long lines at Manchester Airport. 
  • BA was forced to cancel 50 flights from Heathrow Airport yesterday 

Covid chaos has caused thousands of flights cancellations, resulting in Christmas nightmares for many.

For the chaos on one of the busiest weeks in the year, airlines blamed staff shortages and isolating requirements.

British Airways was yesterday forced to cancel 50 flights at Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport.

Travellers also complained of ‘utter carnage’ at Manchester Airport as they queued for hours to check in for the British flag carrier’s flights.

Worldwide cancellations of more than 7,000 flights occurred over Christmas weekend. Most affected were US and Chinese airlines.

More than 7,000 flights were cancelled worldwide over the Christmas weekend, with US and Chinese airlines most severely affected

Over the weekend of Christmas, more than 7,000 flights around the world were cancelled. The most affected airlines were US and Chinese.

Yesterday, China Eastern had to cancel over 400 flights and Air China 193 services. More than 2,000 flight cancellations were made yesterday around the world in addition to 5,100 cancellations for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

FlightAware’s aviation tracking site showed data that 33 Heathrow departures were cancelled yesterday and 25 flights were delayed.

Another 29 flights, which were scheduled to arrive at the airport, were also cancelled. 28 other incoming flights were delayed.

The airlines have remained positive in the build-up up to Christmas. They stated they hadn’t seen a significant change on services due to the Omicron variant that was sweeping the UK.

Despite the problems, the UK’s busiest airports have been operating fairly smoothly, with demand lower than usual for the festive period because of Covid restrictions. EasyJet is cancelling flights to Paris, Berlin, Bordeaux, Paris, Nice and Munich after France and Germany imposed stricter entry requirements.

According to the airline, it has increased its standby crew of pilots and ground crew across Europe and the UK in order for flights to go ahead.

Gatwick, the UK’s second-busiest airport, said that it had only had three cancellations out of 215 flights yesterday. Coronavirus is the main cause of many cancellations worldwide, but severe weather conditions in the USA has also been blamed.

Boxing Day is a day when no train runs in the UK, except for some airport transfers.

Already, travelers were warned that severe disruptions to rail network infrastructure would be expected during the festive season. Customers were advised by operators to move to earlier services as Omicron resulted in widespread staff shortages.

In the days before Christmas, some of the country’s busiest operators were forced to cancel one in 20 services – and more disruption is expected in the coming days.

CrossCountry, which runs services between England and Scotland, said it had been forced to cancel dozens of services on New Year’s Eve because of a strike. Eight operators warned that there would be cancellations at the last minute during this festive holiday break.

A BA spokesman: ‘We are sorry that we have had to cancel a number of flights due to operational constraints.

‘Our teams are working extremely hard and we have upgraded later services to larger aircraft where possible to get customers to their destinations as quickly as possible.’