Canceled flights and ongoing changes to COVID-19 policies remained the biggest stories for aviation travel in the month of August. From extreme weather abandoning hundreds in the Newark airport, to employee vaccination requirements evolving among airlines, to vaccine feature advancements and more. In addition to these ongoing stories, the Taliban threat in Afghanistan that began this month impacted the aviation industry in Kabul airport and within the U.S.
Read on for our roundup of this month’s important industry news and aviation’s latest happenings.
Extreme Weather and Canceled Flights in Newark
This week, severe rainfall from Hurricane Ida struck the Northeast causing deadly destruction in New Jersey and New York. In the midst of the storm, Newark Liberty International Airport began flooding in terminals and the baggage area. United Airlines, JetBlue, and others were forced to cancel hundreds of flights, leaving passengers stranded. Roads to and from the airport were not accessible by taxi services, leaving passengers to stay overnight within the terminal doors. All flight activity to and from Newark on Wednesday, September 1 was suspended, and passengers were relocated away from ground-level areas. By the morning of September 2, some flight activity resumed, but more than 400 flights remained canceled throughout Labor Day weekend. These flight cancelations join a series of similar flight interruptions caused by extreme weather this summer around the country.
Vaccine Employee Requirements and Upload Features
This month, updates in policies and procedures continued to roll in as COVID-19 cases remained high. United Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines stepped forward as a few of the first to mandate vaccines for all employees. Delta Airlines also announced that starting November 1st, they will raise their health insurance premium costs by $200 a month for unvaccinated employees to cover the risk expenses of COVID-19 transmission. In August, Delta Airlines rolled out features for passengers to upload their proof of vaccination and negative COVID tests ahead of their flights.
Afghanistan Impact and Airlines Efforts
Following unrest in Afghanistan in early August, the U.S. and other countries warned citizens and airlines to avoid the airport in Kabul. Amid the chaos, some airlines stepped forward to help those desperately fleeing. Alaska Airlines is taking part in safe evacuation efforts at home by offering to operate military charter flights transporting families and individuals from Afghanistan once they enter the U.S. These operations are separate from the Department of Defense’s air fleet program, where 18 U.S. commercial aircrafts are being used to transport Afghan evacuees.
As these stories continue to evolve, App in the Air will update users with any necessary information or changes that might impact their upcoming trips. Until next time!