New COVID-19 Variant from South Africa Distrupts Aviation

Yesterday, a new COVID-19 variant was discovered in South Africa, known as the Omicron or the B.1.1.529 variant. This new variant is very dangerous as there have been 30 mutations of the type by far. Vaccine manufacturers are rushing to create a COVID-19 jab that is effective against this new strain. Owing to this, aviation has been deeply hit. Through this article, you will find out about how Omicron’s i.e. the new COVID-19 Variant disrupted Aviation.

Airlines Cancelling Flights To South Africa

After the new strain was discovered, airlines have been frenzy and cancelled flights to South Africa and the countries surrounding it, despite the WHO warning against any overreaction. The United States has stated that they will restrict travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi from Monday, 29 November onwards. Countries such as Canada, Japan and Russia have done the same, with others following suit. Airlines such as Emirates, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have too cancelled all flights to South Africa due to the Omicron variant. Thousands of travel plans have been disrupted due to this new variant.

South African Airways A340
Airlines Ban Flights To South Africa | ©aeronauticsonline

Flights From South Africa Stranded On Ground

Due to Omicron, flights from South Africa have been left stranded on the ground for hours at the arrival airport. One notable example was KLM flight 598 from Capetown to Amsterdam, which was left stranded at the gate upon arrival for 4 hours while waiting for special tests, leaving passengers frustrated as some had missed their connections. Another flight from Johannesburg faced a similar delay for a special test upon landing.

KLM Flight Left Stranded Upon Arrival From South Africa
KLM Flight Left Stranded Upon Arrival From South Africa | © KLM

Airline Stock Prices Plummeting

Due to the cancellation of flights to South Africa, airlines’ stock prices have plummeted. Singapore Airlines’ stock price went down from USD $3.83 to USD $3.68. American Airlines’ stock has fallen in value by USD $2.45 but is slowly recovering, whilst aeroplane manufacturer, Boeing’s stock has plummeted in price by up to USD $15 following the discovery of Omicron.

What do you think about Omicron? Comment below.


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Sohail Sawlani
Sohail Sawlani
Aviation Reporter - Sohail is an avid aviation enthusiast and having been a previous Editorial Intern, is now an Aviation Reporter with Travel Radar. With a passion for Commercial Aviation and the machines behind the operations, he regularly contributes to the News & Analysis sections at Travel Radar. Outside of TR, he can be found on the Twitter realm as 'Planeopedia', posting about all things aviation!


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