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Alaska Airlines Cuts Flights Due to Lack of Workers

ORG XMIT: WADZ201 In this photo made Thursday, June 11, 2009, an Alaska Airlines airliner is pushed away from a gate at SeaTac Airport in SeaTac, Wash. Alaska Air Group Inc., operator of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, said Thursday. July 23, its second-quarter profit plunged 53.9 percent to $29.1 million as sales slipped 9.3 percent.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Alaska Airlines will cut 10% of their flights through the end of January 2022 because they don’t have enough workers to meet demand.
As airlines continue to cancel flights due to weather and staffing issues, Alaska Airlines is proactively reducing their schedule to prevent last-minute disruptions.


In a press release, the Seattle-based carrier announced it will cut 10% of their flights through January 31, 2022, because of employees unable to work due to illness.


Airline Says Omicron Variant to Blame for Mass Employee Outages

Most of the U.S.-based airlines say their staffing numbers have been cut significantly due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Alaska Airlines is no different and say they have also been impacted by new infections.


As a result, the airline will pre-emptively make cuts from their schedule to reduce last-minute disruptions from cancellations. The 10% cuts will primarily affect the airline’s operations within the continental United States, without affecting their regular schedule to and from the state of Alaska.


“Right now, we need to build more reliability back into our operation as we deal with the impacts of omicron and during a time when guests generally fly less,” the airline said in a statement. “We’ve decided to reduce departures by about 10% through the end of January. This will give us the flexibility and capacity needed to reset while continued flexible travel policies enable guests to adjust their plans accordingly.”


The cuts to their schedule now will give the carrier additional flexibility during the least traveled times of the month. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. carriers had over 58 million available seat-miles available in January 2019 – the second lowest of the year, and 23% fewer than the peak in July.


The carrier also says the cuts will allow them more time to figure out how to approach “COVID-19 as a continued reality in our business and our world.” In October 2021, the airline made vaccinees mandatory for all employees, in order to comply with a federal requirement.


Airline Cancellations Continue in Thousands After Holidays

Alaska’s move comes as airlines continue to cancel flights in the thousands after the two-week December holiday period. On Thursday, January 6, 2022, FlightAware reports over 2,200 flights were cancelled within, entering, or leaving the United States.

jonsail January 7, 2022

FYI Alaska is within the continental US.