Southwest Airlines, SkyWest Cancel Flights Amid Rising Omicron & Staff Shortages

Air travel continues to face disruptions due to an upsurge in highly-transmissible Omicron cases and bad weather conditions, according to Reuters.

The New Year 2022 ushered in with more than 4,000 flights canceled on January 2 by Airline companies globally, with over 2400 flights canceled in the U.S. itself, according to the tracking website

Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) reportedly canceled 419 flights, while SkyWest (NASDAQ: SKYW) topped the list on January 2 with the most flight cancelations at 510.

Rising Omicron Cases Lead to Staff Shortages

According to Reuters, U.S. authorities reported 346,869 new COVID-19 cases on January 1. Meanwhile, the death toll in the U.S. from COVID-19 rose by 377 to 828,562.

U.S. carriers had canceled several flights over the Christmas and New Year week due to bad weather. Besides, airlines continue to be impacted by staff shortages due to COVID-19 infections, resulting in pilots and cabin crew quarantine protocols. 

Transportation agencies have also suspended or reduced services due to staff shortages.

Earlier, to prepare for the upcoming holiday season at the year-end of 2021, most airlines had made strong preparations and hired employees over the last few months to avoid staffing shortages.

However, despite attractive financial incentives offered, airline cabin crew, pilots, and other staff in the U.S. were reluctant to work overtime during the holidays in the current scenario.

Analysts Recommendation

The Wall Street community is cautiously optimistic about the stock, with a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 10 Buys and 4 Holds. The Southwest Airlines stock price prediction of $54.27 implies 23.9% upside potential from current levels.

Bloggers Weigh In

TipRanks data shows that financial blogger opinions are 86% Bullish on LUV stock, compared to a sector average of 68%.

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