Flight cancellations begin to disrupt the Brazilian airline market

Covid and flu outbreaks among employees have forced airlines to cancel several flights due to staff shortages. As of Monday morning alone, 52 flights had been canceled, 19 of which were international routes.

Of the three airlines that dominate the domestic air travel market, Latam and Azul reported 134 cancellations combined – which corresponds to 1% of Latam flights and 10% of Azul trips through January 16. So far, competitor Gol says the recent Covid spike has not affected its schedule.

The main union representing airline workers says sick leave cases among Azul employees rose 400% in January. To deal with the disruption, the company proposed a collective agreement allowing employees to opt for fewer rest days in exchange for bonuses.

Heavily impacted by the Covid crisis in 2020 and 2021, the air transport sector is now facing disruption during one of the country’s biggest tourist seasons. Brazilians tend to go on summer vacation in December and January.

Due to the exposure of crew members, unions are demanding that these professionals be included in priority groups for Covid-19 booster shots.

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has led to the cancellation of thousands of flights worldwide. According to FlightAware, a data tracking service, a total of 2,868 connections were dropped on Monday alone.

Willie R. Golden