Delta & United Airlines Cancel Christmas Eve Flights Amid Omicron Scare

Delta Airlines, Inc. (DAL) and rival United Airlines Holdings (UAL) were forced to cancel around 200 flights on Christmas eve, Reuters said. Shares of UAL closed at $44.87, while DAL shares closed at $39.30 on December 23.

Omicron Scare

On Thursday, both carriers said they had to cancel flights on Christmas eve due to widespread Omicron cases, which were affecting their flight crews and workers. It’s Christmas time, offices and schools across the U.S. are shut and even the Stock Market Holidays are underway.

However, the resurgence of the COVID-19 cases related to the Omicron variant is making waves nationwide. As a result, UAL canceled 120 flights for Friday, while Delta canceled about 90 flights. Both the airlines are trying to inform passengers to ensure that they are not stranded at the airports.

Earlier this week, Delta CEO Ed Bastian asked the Head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce the quarantine time for fully vaccinated people who were infected with the virus, from 10 days to 5 days. He stated that the quarantine time was affecting the carrier’s worker strength.

Similar requests were made to the CDC by Airlines for America (a trade group representing cargo and carriers) on Thursday, and JetBlue on Wednesday. Responding to the same, the CDC reduced the quarantine time to seven days for workers who test positive but are asymptomatic, provided they test negative.

Airline Comments

Delta said, “exhausted all options and resources — including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying — before canceling around 90 flights for Friday.”

United said, “The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation. As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport.”

Wall Street View

Although the Omicron scare has once again fueled problems for Airline Companies, the Wall Street community is cautiously optimistic about the DAL stock with a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 9 Buys and 4 Holds. The average Delta Airlines price target of $52.17 implies 32.7% upside potential to current levels. Shares have gained 3.7% over the past year.

Website Traffic

TipRanks’ Website Traffic tool uses data from SEMrush Holdings (SEMR), the world’s biggest website usage monitoring service, which offers insight into DAL’s performance.

In November, Delta website traffic recorded a 29.48% year-over-year increase in monthly visits. Similarly, year-to-date website traffic growth increased by 34.17% compared to the same period last year.

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