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German airline Lufthansa cancels flights after pilots call in sick

German airline Lufthansa cancels flights after pilots call in sick
Following pilots calling in sick and crewmembers having to quarantine, Lufthansa has canceled transatlantic flights in the Christmas season. File Photo by Jan Brandes/EPA-EFE

Dec. 23 (UPI) -- German airline Lufthansa canceled intercontinental flights over the Christmas period after pilots called in sick, the company announced Thursday.

The cancellations will primarily affect Lufthansa's long-haul flights across the North Atlantic. A total of six flights will be canceled by Sunday.

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Return flights to Japan have also been canceled.

A few volunteers are able to take over routes, the airlines said.

Scandanavian airlines SAS announced on Tuesday that they would cancel over 30 flights in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. The next day, nine flights were canceled and on Thursday, four more.

The airline is also experiencing increases in sick leave. Crewmembers have gone into quarantine, further complicating travel.

Lufthansa promised to have emergency plans in place if a COVID-19 crisis were to occur, including keeping reserve crew on hand for more flexibility in planning.

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