JetBlue on Thursday morning announced it would cancel 1,280 flights through Jan. 13.
The airline said the cancellations are an effort to avoid last-minute changes for passengers, as it expects an increase in COVID-19 infections among flight crews. The schedule cuts will affect nearly 10% of JetBlue’s daily schedules.
“This past week has been one of our most difficult operating periods during the pandemic,” JetBlue department leaders wrote Tuesday in a note to staff, as reported by CNBC. “The exponential growth in omicron cases over just a couple of days is at a level that no one could reasonably prepare for.”
WATCH: FAUCI SAYS MENTAL HEALTH IS ESSENTIAL FOR YEAR THREE OF THE PANDEMIC
JetBlue canceled 173 flights, or 17% of its schedule Thursday, while airlines have continued to cancel and delay flights amid staffing shortages and concerns about COVID-19. An estimated 2,600 flights were canceled by Thursday morning, with nearly 1,100 of them occurring within, flying into, or departing the United States, according to FlightAware.
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased isolation guidelines for people who test positive for COVID-19 from a recommended 10 days down to five.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
That adjustment is expected to help flight crew staffing shortages, but JetBlue noted it likely won't be enough to offset the greater omicron spike.