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US airport chaos as more than 2,700 flights cancelled

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Air travel continued to be severely disrupted in the United States on Saturday, with bad weather in parts of the country adding to the impact of a massive spike in COVID-19 infections fuelled by the Omicron variant.

The United States (US) had 2,723 cancelled flights, more than half of the 4,698 cancelled worldwide, around 1pm (0400 GMT yesterday), according to tracking website FlightAware.

In addition, 5,993 domestic flights were delayed on Saturday, out of a total of 11.043 worldwide for the day.

The worst affected US airline was SkyWest, which had to cancel 23 per cent of its flight schedule, according to the site.

In the US, airports in Chicago were particularly hard-hit because of bad weather, with a snowstorm on Saturday afternoon and into the night.

The global air travel industry is still reeling from the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Many pilots, flight attendants and other staff are absent from work after contracting COVID-19, or because they are quarantining after coming in contact with someone who has the infection.

Some 7,500 flights were cancelled by airlines worldwide over the Christmas weekend.

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