Omicron Starts Leading To Flight Cancellations In Latin America

The new COVID-19 waves in Latin America are beginning to impact the schedules of LATAM and Grupo Aeromexico. Both airlines have been forced to cancel flights as some of their crew have tested positive in the last few days.

The new waves of COVID-19 are forcing Latin American airlines to cancel flights. Photo: Getty Images.

LATAM’s impact

LATAM Colombia had to cancel approximately 3% of its operation due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among its crew.

The airline is allowing impacted passengers to file for full reimbursement without fees and penalties. They can also change their flight date and route, pending certain conditions.

Today, January 7, at least six domestic flights are impacted, according to local media outlet Aviacionline. These are LA4061, LA4060, LA4198, LA4199, LA4014, and LA4067. They cover the routes Bogota-Cali, Cali-Bogota, Bogota-Monteria, Monteria-Bogota, Bogota-Medellin, and Bogota-Cali, respectively.

According to Cirium, LATAM Airlines Group is scheduling 1,295 flights overall on Friday, January 7. In Colombia, the airline has 191 scheduled commercial flights.

Omicron Starts Leading To Flight Cancellations In Latin America
Over 140 cabin crew members from Aeromexico have tested positive to COVID-19. Photo: Guillermo Quiroz Martínez via @gquimar.

The impact on Aeromexico

The Mexican carrier Aeromexico has also felt the impact of new COVID-19 waves. Both the cabin crew and pilots unions are reporting an increase in the number of positive cases throughout the company.

According to the cabin crew union (ASSA), up to 140 members are currently under quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. Plus, 65 additional members can’t fly because they haven’t been able to update their official documents. In total, 10.38% of Aeromexico’s cabin crew members affiliated with ASSA are currently unable to work.

This lack of personnel has led the airline to cancel flights and have an overall impact on its schedule.

The pilot union (ASPA) is also reporting an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. ASPA announced there are more than 80 Aeromexico pilots that have tested positive. “However, it is very likely these numbers will increase due to the ómicron variant being highly contagious,” the Union said in a statement sent to Simple Flying.

Mexico faces a new wave of infections, having nearly 26,000 new cases in the last 24 hours. The Latin American country has not imposed any type of travel or mobility restrictions, which has led to a quick recovery, but also to Mexico having nearly 300,000 deaths officially related to COVID-19. It leads the OECD countries in excess mortality.

Aeromexico has 544 scheduled flights on January 7, according to Cirium. The airline projects to operate over 7,200 flights in the next couple of weeks, with 1.02 million seats available.

Aeromexico stated,

“The new wave of COVID-19 infections has impacted aviation worldwide. We are trying to minimize the impact and serve our customers the best. Delaying or canceling flights is not a decision we take lightly and it is always our last resource.”

AVianca Getty
Other Latin American airlines have also felt the impact of the new variant. Photo: Getty Images

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Other Latin American airlines impacted by COVID-19 infections

Not only LATAM and Aeromexico have had COVID cases within their workforce. Avianca and Viva Air have felt similar impacts in Colombia.

Avianca had to cancel several flights between January 1 and 15, mainly within Colombia. It had to scrap up to 4% of the whole operation. Meanwhile, Viva also registered a few cases among its crew, but the low-cost carrier has stated that nearly 98% of its workforce is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In Ecuador, the new startup EQUAIR had to delay its inaugural flight from December 22 to January 20 due to rising cases among its employees. Yesterday EQUAIR operated its first test flight between Quito, Guayaquil, and the Galápagos Islands, signaling that it is almost ready to start service.

Do you expect further impact in the region due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases? Let us know in the comments below.