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The Omicron variant threatens the gradual recovery of air traffic, a sector hard hit by the pandemic, with planes grounded in 2020. Since the beginning of January, the European organization for the safety of European navigation has noted a drop in the number of flights , and it’s the same in the United States.
In the United States, Delta Airlines has had to cancel more than 30,000 flights since Christmas due to the spread of the Omicron virus among the crews. The American company recorded a net loss of 408 million dollars in the fourth quarter, in the context of rising fuel prices. Delta, however, said Omicron caused it to cancel just 1% of its flights last week and it is optimistic for 2022 to continue.
In Europe, air traffic is in 2021 at 56% of that of before the crisis, that is to say of 2019, with upward variations during the holidays, according to Eurocontrol. The recovery in air traffic has managed to reach more than 70% of its pre-crisis level since August, thanks to the summer holidays, even peaking at 78% at Christmas.
Slow period at the beginning of the year
But this percentage fell in the first days of January to reach 63% on January 12. However, the impact of the pandemic must be put into perspective, specifies Eurocontrol, because the first months of the year are generally a slow period for air transport on the Old Continent.
In total, 514 million passengers traveled by air in Europe in 2021, just under a quarter of world traffic, according to preliminary figures published on Wednesday by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ), a UN agency.
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(and with AFP)