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Thousands of US flights canceled in New Year’s airport chaos

2,723 flights on Saturday were canceled in the United States amid 4,698 worldwide as Omicron COVID cases spike globally

Katelyn Darrow gets some work done on her laptop as she waits to board her flight at the Philadelphia International Airport Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Katelyn Darrow gets some work done on her laptop as she waits to board her flight at the Philadelphia International Airport Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Air travel continued to be severely disrupted in the United States on Saturday, with bad weather in parts of the country adding to the impact of a massive spike in COVID-19 infections fueled by the Omicron variant.

The United States had 2,723 canceled flights, more than half of the 4,698 canceled worldwide, around 11:00 pm (0400 GMT Sunday), according to tracking website FlightAware. 

In addition, 5,993 domestic flights were delayed on Saturday, out of a total of 11,043 worldwide for the day.

The worst affected US airline was SkyWest, which had to cancel 23 percent of its flight schedule, according to the site.

In the United States, airports in Chicago were particularly hard-hit because of bad weather, with a snowstorm expected in the area on Saturday afternoon and into the night.

The global air travel industry is still reeling from the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Many pilots, flight attendants and other staff are absent from work after contracting COVID-19, or because they are quarantining after coming in contact with someone who has the infection.

Some 7,500 flights were canceled by airlines worldwide over the Christmas weekend. 

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