Commuters at Long Island MacAthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, where minor...

Commuters at Long Island MacAthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, where minor delays but no cancellations were reported on Sunday. Credit: James Carbone

Dozens of flights arriving or departing from Kennedy and LaGuardia airports were canceled Sunday, according to FlightAware, a flight-tracking website.

FlightAware does not provide information on why flights are canceled, but airlines said on Friday that the omicron variant had caused staffing shortages leading to cancellations in recent days.

There were no cancellations Sunday at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, according to the website. Seventy-six flights were canceled at Kennedy by Sunday evening, according to FlightAware, with 33 at LaGuardia. Many more flights were delayed throughout the region.

JetBlue appeared to be the hardest hit Sunday. The airline canceled 39 flights arriving or departing from Kennedy and 17 arriving or departing from LaGuardia. JetBlue officials did not respond to a request for comment.

Eighteen Delta Air Lines flights arriving or departing from Kennedy were canceled, as were five Delta flights to or from LaGuardia. Delta blamed cancellations nationwide on inclement weather in parts of the country as well as the omicron variant. The airline said in a statement that 40 flights may be canceled on Monday as well.

"We apologize to customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans," the statement said. "Delta people are continuing to work together around the clock to reroute and substitute aircraft and crews to get customers where they need to be as quickly and safely as possible. When that’s not possible, Delta reservations specialists are coordinating with our Operations and Customer Care Center to get those impacted on the next available flight."

Other airlines also canceled hundreds of flights nationwide over the weekend as staffing issues tied to COVID-19 disrupted holiday celebrations during one of the busiest travel times of the year.

"The nationwide spike in omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation," United Airlines, which, according to FlightAware, on Sunday canceled two flights from Kennedy and one from LaGuardia, said in a statement over the weekend. "As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport."

Flight delays and cancellations tied to staffing shortages have been a regular problem for the U.S. airline industry this year, with airlines short-staffed after an initial recovery from 2020's COVID-19 service reduction.

To ease staffing shortages, countries including Spain and the United Kingdom have reduced the length of COVID-19 quarantines by letting people return to work sooner after testing positive or being exposed to the virus.

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