United Airlines could be leaving New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport – again.
The Chicago-based airline stopped serving JFK in 2015 to focus on operations at neighboring Newark Liberty International Airport, but it came back in February 2021, snatching up slots other airlines had temporarily given up as travel dipped during the pandemic.
Now that travel has bounced back, those airlines are taking their slots back, and United may “need to suspend service at JFK” next month.
“The reason is simple: without permanent slots, we can’t serve JFK effectively compared to the larger schedules and more attractive flight times flown by our competitors,” the airline said in a letter to employees. “For example, JetBlue currently flies to Los Angeles six times more often from JFK than United does and American flies there more than four times as frequently.”
Flight canceled or delayed?:New tool shows exactly what airlines owe you
‘The space was not built for me’:Plus-size flyers say airlines have room to improve
The airline said it’s been trying, without success, to acquire additional, permanent slots for more than a year through the Federal Aviation Administration and commercial agreements with other airlines. Now it’s asking the FAA to increase capacity at JFK, which United says hasn’t changed since 2008 despite a number of infrastructure improvements like widened runways that give the airport “room to grow.”
“If our latest request is approved and the FAA can offer United an interim multi-season allocation, we are prepared to expand and provide consumers a more competitive JFK offering,” the airline said in its letter. “But if we are not able to get additional allocations for multiple seasons, we will need to suspend service at JFK, effective at the end of October.”
The FAA is following its own timeline.
“The FAA continually looks for ways to increase the efficiency of airspace in busy metropolitan areas safely,” the FAA said in a statement to USA TODAY. “The agency must consider airspace capacity and runway capacity to assess how changes would affect flights at nearby airports. Any additional slots at JFK would follow the FAA’s well-established process of awarding them fairly and to increase competition.”
‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort