DALLAS – Alaska Airlines (AS) reports the airline has had to cut 10% of its flights in January due to the Omicron COVID-19 variant. The variant impacts the airline’s employees as they cannot operate flights while being confined.

Alaska Airlines’ network is mainly focused on the west coast, with hubs in Anchorage (ANC), Seattle (SEA), Portland (PDX) and San Fransisco (SFO). The airline operates Boeing 737 aircraft with a few Airbus A320 family aircraft left from its acquisition of Virgin America (VX). AS also has Embraer E-jets and Bombardier Q400 operating on its regional routes. The carrier is trying to renew its current fleet with recently ordered Embraer aircraft.

However, just like many other airlines, AS is facing issues with the new Omicron variant as infection numbers rise. The airline is therefore running short on employees to operate all the planned flights. According to AS, it had no choice but to cut its flights schedules in order to keep its operations reliable.

Recently, thousands of flights were canceled due to the Omicron outbreak. This was even more of a problem during the Christmas holidays, as many passengers were traveling for the holidays.

But the airline also operates a few A320 family aircrafts. Photo: Andrew Henderson/Airways

Comments from Alaska Airlines

AS thanked its employees for all the work they have done recently. “We are deeply grateful for how our incredible employees have pulled together to take care of our guests and each other, operate safely and make the best of a very difficult situation”. The airline apologized to customers impacted by these cancellations.

“To our guests, we apologize for the considerable inconvenience and are working hard to return to the level of service they know and expect from us.”

The carrier also looked to the future, making some comments about the situation. “[This experience] will also give us time and space to find our path forward together, with Covid-19 as a continued reality in our business and our world. We will learn from these challenges, improve where we must and deliver on our promise to deliver nonstop care each and every day.”

Featured image: Alaska operates Boeing 737 NG and MAX variants. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways