After 19 months, United Airways is formally suspending flights at New York’s JFK airport — once more

United’s pandemic-era transfer to restart flights at New York’s John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport (JFK) is coming to an finish.

The Chicago-based carried formally introduced plans on Friday to tug out of the JFK Airport on the finish of October. The service at present flies 4 every day flights from JFK, two to Los Angeles and two to San Francisco. These are often called among the nation’s most premier and aggressive routes.

When the service ends, United will consolidate its transcontinental operations at its Newark Liberty Worldwide Airport (EWR) hub, the place it has traditionally provided a strong schedule of a number of every day flights between the coasts.

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In an inner memo obtained by TPG and confirmed by a service spokesperson, United stated that “given our present, too-small-to-be-competitive schedule out of JFK — coupled with the beginning of the Winter season the place extra airways will function their slots as they resume JFK flying — United has made the tough resolution to briefly droop service at JFK.”

Affected clients shall be provided a refund or rebooking choices.


This transfer should not essentially come as a shock, as United had already warned that it could be compelled to droop service to New York’s busiest airport earlier this month.

On the finish of October, the airline will lose the slots that at present enable it to function from JFK — a key driver of the transfer. Slots are basically permissions granted by the Federal Aviation Administration to permit an airline to land or depart at a given time at capacity-constrained airports, together with JFK.

United’s 100 JFK staff have already been notified concerning the airline’s withdrawal, and the service promised that nobody will lose their job in the event that they’re keen to maneuver to different close by airports.

In an announcement, the FAA shared that it “is devoted to doing its half to securely increase New York Metropolis airports and airspace capability. We are going to observe our honest and well-established course of to award future slots to extend competitors between airways so passengers have extra choices. We’re inspired United will retain and relocate its JFK workers to its different New York Metropolis airports.”

United has traditionally served JFK for a few years, however it pulled out of the airport in 2015 below the course of former CEO Jeff Smisek. The withdrawal, since dubbed a “strategic mistake” by present CEO Scott Kirby, brought on the airline to lose essential (and profitable) company contracts with a few of its most useful clients.

United strategically used the demand downturn related to the pandemic to muscle its means again into Kennedy in March 2021. On the time, the airline was capable of briefly choose up eight slots — sufficient for 2 every day round-trip flights — from some worldwide carriers that weren’t utilizing them.

The airline relaunched service to JFK with one among its most premium jet, the “high-J” variant of the Boeing 767-300 that options 46 Polaris business-class seats, in addition to a 22-seat Premium Plus cabin.


The airline struggled to fill most of the airplane’s premium seats, resulting in frequent fare gross sales and loads of award and improve availability. To raised match provide and demand, United switched to utilizing a Boeing 757-200 on the JFK routes. This airplane options simply 16 Polaris pods in a much less very best 2-2 configuration.

However now that journey demand is returning, these carriers need their slots again, leaving United with no different choice however to tug out of JFK.

Apparently, United does nonetheless personal 40 slots at JFK, however it leased them to Delta Air Traces in a long-term association that does not enable for United to take them again presently.

United warned earlier in September that it could be compelled to droop service to JFK. On the time, the service shared an inner memo with its staff saying that “now that buyer demand has surged again, the operators of these slots are resuming their use firstly of the winter season and past.”

After exhausting its choices to acquire extra everlasting slots, Kirby despatched a letter to appearing FAA administrator Billy Nolen urging the company to extend the slot cap at Kennedy. These discussions “have been constructive,” in keeping with United, however it added that the “course of so as to add further capability at JFK will take a while.”

“We expect New York clients deserve extra selections, and strong United service to JFK is nice for our clients, our staff and our airline. In consequence, we are going to proceed our pursuit of an even bigger and extra fascinating schedule for our clients and be able to seize these alternatives if and once they floor,” the interior memo learn.

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