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Omicron Variant, Covid Cancels 1,280 Jetblue Flights

JetBlue said it will ground about 1,280 flights through Jan. 13, as the omicron Covid strain forces its workers to stay at home.
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JetBlue Airways  (JBLU) - Get JetBlue Airways Corporation Report said late Wednesday that it will cancel about 1,280 flights through Jan. 13, as the omicron Covid strain forces its workers to stay at home.

“We have seen a surge in the number of sick calls from omicron,” a JetBlue spokesman told The Wall Street Journal. “We entered the holiday season with the highest staffing levels we’ve had since the pandemic began and are using all resources available to cover our staffing needs.”

More than 1,000 flights have been cancelled for each of the past five days amid the omicron surge and foul weather in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Alaska Air  (ALK) - Get Alaska Air Group, Inc. Report urged its customers Tuesday to ditch non-essential trips until next month.

JetBlue shares recently traded $14.31, down 0.49%, and have eased 1.1% year to date.

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In October, the Long Island City, N.Y. carrier reported a surprise swing to third-quarter profit on a quadrupling of revenue. It posted earnings of $130 million, or 40 cents a share compared with a loss of $393 million, or $1.44 a share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Revenue rose to $1.97 billion from $492 million in the pandemic-hammered year-earlier period.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet estimated a loss of 18 cents a share on revenue of revenue of $1.92 billion.

Earlier in October, Goldman Sachs analyst Catherine O'Brien downgraded JetBlue to neutral, because she expected costs necessary to continue its code-share partnership with American will outstrip revenue driven by the alliance.

That's "especially given the pricing pressure we expect to see across the industry due to elevated capacity and corporate/international demand that will likely still be in recovery," she wrote.

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