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Airline and Cruise Stocks Gain Despite Omicron-Related Woes

Shares of airlines, cruise lines and other travel-related stocks rise despite ongoing flight cancellations related to the omicron variant.

Airline stocks glided higher on Monday alongside shares of cruise operators and other travel- and tourism-related companies despite thousands of U.S. flights being canceled over New Year's weekend amid a combination of Covid-19 disruptions and winter weather.

Shares of Alaska Air (ALK) - Get Alaska Air Group, Inc. Report as well as American Airlines  (AAL) - Get American Airlines Group, Inc. Report, Delta Air Lines  (DAL) - Get Delta Air Lines, Inc. Report, Southwest Airlines  (LUV) - Get Southwest Airlines Co. Report and United Airlines  (UAL) - Get United Airlines Holdings, Inc. Report were all higher in premarket trading on Monday, while shares of Carnival (CCL) - Get Carnival Corporation Report and Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCLH) - Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Report were also higher, as was plane maker Boeing  (BA) - Get Boeing Company Report.

Data from flight tracker website FlightAware showed more than 4,464 flights were canceled globally on Sunday -- the second-largest day of cancellations since Christmas Eve. At least 2,709 of the cancellations were within, into or out of the U.S.

Including Sunday, airlines have canceled more than 16,000 flights in the last 10 days, including Christmas Eve, amid ongoing staffing issues related to airline personnel calling in sick due to omicron as well as weather-related delays.

As of Monday morning, more than 3,075 flights had been cancelled globally, including 1,742 U.S. flights.

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Airlines have said they are taking steps to reduce cancellations caused by workers affected by the pandemic. United is offering to pay pilots triple or more of their usual wages for picking up open flights through most of January. 

Spirit Airlines reached a deal with the Association of Flight Attendants for double pay for cabin crews through Tuesday, a union spokesperson told the Associated Press.

Airlines hope that extra pay and reduced schedules get them through the holiday crush and into the heart of January, when travel demand usually drops off. The seasonal decline could be sharper than normal this year because most business travelers are still grounded.

At last check, shares of Alaska Air were leading the group higher, with the stock up 1.63% at $52.95 in premarket trading. American Airlines was up 0.78% at $18.10, Delta was up 0.67% at $39.34, Southwest was up 0.28% at $42.96 and United was up 0.73% at $44.10. Carnival was up 1.64% at $20.45 while Norwegian Cruise was up 1.11% at $20.97. Shares of Boeing were up were up 1.03% at $203.40.