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Union Pacific cuts 2021 volume, operating ratio growth forecast

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Union Pacific cuts 2021 volume, operating ratio growth forecast
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Union Pacific rail car is parked at a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train yard in Seattle, Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

(Reuters) – Union Pacific Corp (NYSE:) cut its full-year forecast for volume and operating ratio growth on Wednesday, as supply chain logjams pressure the U.S. railroad operator’s volumes.

The Nebraska-based company, in a regulatory filing, said it expects 2021 volumes to grow about 4% from around 5% growth it had forecast in October. It had expected a volume growth of about 7% earlier in the year.

Union Pacific’s intermodal and automotive shipments, which are key revenue drivers, have been hit by supply chain problems, such as logjams at ports, truck driver and chip shortages.

Operating ratio, a key profitability metric, is expected to rise about 150 basis points, down from the 175 points Union Pacific had forecast earlier.

Shares of Union Pacific, which operates in 23 states and connects East Coast ports to key terminals like Chicago, pared gains to trade about flat in the afternoon session.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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U.S. airlines scrap nearly 1,000 Christmas Day flights due to Omicron

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U.S. airlines scrap nearly 1,000 Christmas Day flights due to Omicron
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Travelers form lines during the holiday season as the coronavirus Omicron variant threatens to increase case numbers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. December 22, 2021. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

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By Humeyra Pamuk and Joel Schectman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. airlines scrapped nearly 1,000 flights on Saturday, the second straight day of massive cancellations as surging COVID-19 infections have sidelined some pilots and other crew members, upending plans for tens of thousands of holiday travelers over the Christmas weekend.

A total of 957 Christmas Day flights, including domestic flights and those into or out of the country, were canceled, up from 690 on Christmas Eve, according to a running tally on flight-tracking website FlightAware.com. Nearly 2,000 flights were delayed.

At least one airline said that it expects hundreds more cancellations on Sunday.

The Christmas holidays are typically a peak time for air travel, but the rapid spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant has led to a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, forcing airlines to cancel flights as pilots and crew need to be quarantined.

United Airlines canceled 230 flights while American Airlines (NASDAQ:) called off 90 flights, representatives for the companies said in separate statements.

“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 spokesperson Maddie King said. She said the cancellations made up a small portion of United’s 4,000 average daily flights during the holiday season.

“We are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their way for the holidays,” she said.

Winter weather and Omicron forced Delta Air Lines (NYSE:) to scrub 344 flights on Saturday, of approximately 3,000 scheduled flights, “after exhausting all options and resources to prevent those cancellations,” a spokesperson for the company said, adding that the impact was likely to persist on Sunday.

“Delta expects more than 300 of its flights will be canceled on Sunday, Dec. 26,” the spokesperson said. “Delta people are working 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.”

Globally, FlightAware data showed that just over 2,700 flights were called off on Saturday and another 7,049 were delayed, as of 5.30 p.m. EST (2230 GMT).

Among the most impacted U.S. airports were Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International, Los Angeles International and New York’s JFK International. Six out of the 10 global airports most hit by the cancellations were Chinese.

Not all airlines were affected equally. A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines (NYSE:) said there were no issues to report with the carrier’s flights on Saturday.

The Omicron variant was first detected in November and now accounts for nearly three-quarters of U.S. cases and as many as 90% in some areas, such as the Eastern Seaboard.

The average number of new U.S. coronavirus cases has risen 45% to 179,000 per day over the past week, according to a Reuters tally.

While recent research suggests Omicron produces milder illness and a lower rate of hospitalizations than previous variants of COVID-19, health officials have maintained a cautious note about the outlook.

Ahead of the Christmas holiday, Americans scrambled for COVID-19 tests and many went ahead with their travel plans.

U.S. officials have said that people who are fully vaccinated should feel comfortable proceeding with holiday travel.

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U.S. airlines scrap hundreds of Christmas Day flights due to Omicron

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U.S. airlines scrap hundreds of Christmas Day flights due to Omicron
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Travelers form lines during the holiday season as the coronavirus Omicron variant threatens to increase case numbers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. December 22, 2021. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

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By Humeyra Pamuk and Joel Schectman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. airlines canceled close to 900 flights on Saturday, the second straight day of massive cancellations as surging COVID-19 infections have sidelined some pilots and other crew members, upending plans for tens of thousands of holiday travelers over the Christmas weekend.

More than 880 Christmas Day flights, including domestic flights and those into or out of the country, were canceled, up from 690 on Christmas Eve, according to a running tally on flight-tracking website FlightAware.com. Around 800 flights were delayed.

The Christmas holidays are typically a peak time for air travel, but the rapid spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant has led to a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, forcing airlines to cancel flights as pilots and crew need to be quarantined.

United Airlines canceled 230 flights, a company spokesperson said.

“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” spokesperson Maddie King said. She added that the cancellations made up a small portion of United’s 4,000 average daily flights during the holiday season.

“We are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their way for the holidays,” she said.

FlightAware data showed that Delta Air Lines (NYSE:) scrubbed 292 flights as of 11:23 a.m. EST (1623 GMT), while a spokesperson for American Airlines (NASDAQ:) said the carrier had to call off 90 mainland flights. Globally, a total of more than 2,500 flights were called off on Saturday and some 4,200 others were delayed.

“Our operation has been running smoothly, and unfortunately a number of COVID-related sick calls led us to make the difficult decision to pre-cancel some flights scheduled for today,” a spokesperson for American Airlines said.

Not all airlines were affected equally. A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines (NYSE:) said there were no issues to report with the carrier’s flights on Saturday.

The Omicron variant was first detected in November and now accounts for nearly three-quarters of U.S. cases and as many as 90% in some areas, such as the Eastern Seaboard.

The average number of new U.S. coronavirus cases has risen 45% to 179,000 per day over the past week, according to a Reuters tally.

While recent research suggests Omicron produces milder illness and a lower rate of hospitalizations than previous variants of COVID-19, health officials have maintained a cautious note about the outlook.

Ahead of the Christmas holiday, Americans scrambled for COVID-19 tests and many went ahead with their travel plans.

U.S. officials have said that people who are fully vaccinated should feel comfortable proceeding with holiday travel.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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NASA launches revolutionary space telescope to give glimpse of early universe

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5/5
NASA launches revolutionary space telescope to give glimpse of early universe
© Reuters. Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket, with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope onboard, is rolled out to the launch pad at Europe’s Spaceport, the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana December 23, 2021. Picture taken December 23, 2021. NASA/Bill Ingalls

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By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) -NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, built to give the world its first glimpse of the universe as it existed when the earliest galaxies formed, was launched by rocket early Saturday from the northeastern coast of South America, opening a new era of astronomy.

The revolutionary $9 billion infrared telescope https://graphics.reuters.com/SPACE-EXPLORATION/TELESCOPE/klvyknwbrvg, described by NASA as the premiere space-science observatory of the next decade, was carried aloft inside the cargo bay of an Ariane 5 rocket that blasted off at about 7:20 a.m. EST (1220 GMT) from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) launch base in French Guiana.

The flawless Christmas Day launch, with a countdown conducted in French, was carried live on a joint NASA-ESA webcast. The liftoff capped a project decades in the making, coming to fruition after years of repeated delays and cost over-runs.

“From a tropical rain forest to the edge of time itself, James Webb begins a voyage back to the birth of the universe,” a NASA commentator said as the two-stage launch vehicle, fitted with double solid-rocket boosters, roared off its launch pad into cloudy skies.

After a 27-minute, hypersonic ride into space, the 14,000-pound instrument was released from the upper stage of the French-built rocket about 865 miles above the Earth, and should gradually unfurl to nearly the size of a tennis court over the next 13 days as it sails onward on its own.

Live video captured by a camera mounted on the rocket’s upper stage showed the Webb gliding gently away after it was jettisoned, drawing cheers and applause from jubilant flight engineers in the mission control center.

Flight controllers confirmed moments later, as the Webb’s solar-energy array was deployed, that its power supply was working.

Coasting through space for two more weeks, the Webb telescope will reach its destination in solar orbit 1 million miles from Earth – about four times farther away than the moon. And Webb’s special orbital path will keep it in constant alignment with the Earth as the planet and telescope circle the sun in tandem.

By comparison, Webb’s 30-year-old predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, orbits the Earth from 340 miles away, passing in and out of the planet’s shadow every 90 minutes.

Named after the man who oversaw NASA through most of its formative decade of the 1960s, Webb is about 100 times more sensitive than Hubble and is expected to transform scientists’ understanding of the universe and our place in it.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, striking a spiritual tone as he addressed the launch webcast by video link, quoted the Bible and hailed the new telescope as a “time machine” that will “capture the light from the very beginning of the creation.”

COSMOLOGICAL HISTORY LESSON

Webb mainly will view the cosmos in the infrared spectrum, allowing it to peer through clouds of gas and dust where stars are being born, while Hubble has operated primarily at optical and ultraviolet wavelengths.

The new telescope’s primary mirror – consisting of 18 hexagonal segments of gold-coated beryllium metal – also has a much bigger light-collecting area, enabling it to observe objects at greater distances, thus farther back into time, than Hubble or any other telescope.

That, astronomers say, will bring into view a glimpse of the cosmos never previously seen – dating to just 100 million years after the Big Bang, the theoretical flashpoint that set in motion the expansion of the observable universe an estimated 13.8 billion years ago.

Hubble’s view reached back to roughly 400 million years following the Big Bang, a period just after the very first galaxies – sprawling clusters of stars, gases and other interstellar matter – are believed to have taken shape.

While Hubble caught glimmers of “toddler” galaxies, Webb will reveal those objects in greater detail while also capturing even fainter, earlier “infant” galaxies, astrophysicist Eric Smith, NASA’s Webb program scientist, told Reuters hours before the launch.

Aside from examining the formation of the earliest stars and galaxies, astronomers are eager to study super-massive black holes believed to occupy the centers of distant galaxies.

Webb’s instruments also make it ideal to search for evidence of potentially life-supporting atmospheres around scores of newly documented exoplanets – celestial bodies orbiting distant stars – and to observe worlds much closer to home, such as Mars and Saturn’s icy moon Titan.

The telescope is an international collaboration led by NASA in partnership with the European and Canadian space agencies. Northrop Grumman Corp (NYSE:) was the primary contractor. The Arianespace launch vehicle is part of the European contribution.

“The world gave us this telescope, and we handed it back to the world today,” Gregory Robinson, Webb program director for NASA told reporters at a post-launch briefing.

Webb was developed at a cost of $8.8 billion, with operational expenses projected to bring its total price tag https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nasa-telescope/northrop-ceo-grilled-by-u-s-lawmakers-over-space-telescope-idUSKBN1KG2US to about $9.66 billion, far higher than planned when NASA was previously aiming for a 2011 launch.

Astronomical operation of the telescope, to be managed from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, is expected to begin in the summer of 2022, following about six months of alignment and calibration of Webb’s mirrors and instruments.

It is then that NASA expects to release the initial batch of images captured by Webb. Webb is designed to last up to 10 years.

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