The US airline United Airlines, one of the largest in the world, said on Tuesday that it will continue to cut flights soon as it has some 3,000 employees currently infected with COVID-19 in the heat of the wave of the omicron variant.
The US airlines have already been forced to cancel thousands of flights during the recent Christmas holidays due to lack of personnel – coupled with bad weather – and United said that it continues to adjust its operations in the short term to ensure that it has enough workers enough.
Other airlines such as American Airlines, JetBlue, and Alaska Airlines had already announced that they were going to reduce the number of flights in January for the same reason.
“We have about 3,000 employees currently positive for covid-19. For example, in a single day in Newark (a major airport in the New York area) almost a third of the workforce was absent due to illness,” explained the counselor company delegate, Scott Kirby, in a message to workers that was accessed by various media.
With a workforce of about 70,000 workers, that number of positives represents just over 4% of the total employed by United.
In his message, Kirby noted however that no vaccinated worker is currently hospitalized after the airline required its workforce to be immunized.
“Since our vaccination policy went into effect, the hospitalization rate among our employees has been 100 times less than that of the general US population.”, he pointed.
Kirby highlighted the effectiveness of vaccines, recalling that before they were mandatory, a United employee died each week from covid-19, while now eight weeks without victims accumulate among its vaccinated staff.
“Although I know that there are people who still disagree with our policy, United is showing that imposing the vaccine is the right thing to do to save lives,” he insisted.