Finnair, British Airways cut flights as omicron wave sickens staff, softens demand

Jan 12, 2022

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Two key Oneworld carriers have cut flights as the COVID-19 omicron variant has both softened demand and caused staff to call in sick.

Finnair and British Airways are making short-term schedule adjustments and suspending or postponing some transatlantic service to the U.S.

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Finnair is cutting its February schedule by 20% due to a “significant increase” of sick leave among its staff. Most of this schedule cut is a reduction in frequencies, meaning that Finnair will continue service to the destination, though it will offer fewer flights each day. However, this schedule reduction also means that the airline’s much-anticipated launch of service from Helsinki (HEL) to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) will now be moved to 27 March, from 6 February.

“Staff sick leave is now significantly impacting Finnair and airports in Finland as well as throughout the world,” Finnair’s chief commercial officer, Ole Orvér, said in a statement. “We aim to meet these resourcing challenges through the cancellation of flights, to avoid last-minute changes and better manage our customers’ expectations. This will give customers more time to prepare for flight schedule changes and adjust their travel plans if needed.”

Fellow Oneworld carrier British Airways has temporarily suspended its service from London Heathrow (LHR) to New Orleans (MSY), Nashville (BNA) and Baltimore-Washington (BWI).

Service to New Orleans will be suspended on 18 January, with Nashville suspended on 16 January and Baltimore on 17 January, according to Cirium schedules data. Those flights, which only restarted in November (BWI) and December (MSY and BNA) after an initial COVID-19 suspension, will resume again in April (MSY) and May (BWI and BNA).

“Like other airlines, due to the continuing [coronavirus] pandemic we are operating a reduced and dynamic schedule,” British Airways said in a statement.

Related: What to do when an airline changes your flight

If you’re affected by these schedule changes or another airline’s schedule changes, check out TPG’s guide on what to do when an airline changes your flight.

Featured photo by Daniel Bockwoldt/picture alliance via Getty Images.

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