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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

United Airlines to stop service at JFK airport

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According to a statement emailed to staff on Friday, the Chicago-based airline will temporarily cease operations to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) beginning in late October.

“Given our current, too-small-to-be-competitive schedule out of JFK – coupled with the start of the Winter season where more airlines will operate their slots as they resume JFK flying – United has made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend service at JFK,” the memo, which was emailed to USA TODAY by a United spokesperson, reads.

On October 29, United will terminate its inbound service to JFK. In order to come up with alternate arrangements, the airline claimed it was “working with customers who have reservations after that date.” When its service would resume at JFK was not specified.

The suspension of United’s service at JFK is not new. In order to concentrate on operations at the nearby Newark Liberty International Airport, the airline had stopped providing service to the New York airport in 2015.

As travel decreased due to the epidemic, United briefly took over slots that other airlines had temporarily given up when they departed from JFK in February 2021. But now that the tourism industry is recovering, those airlines are reclaiming their slots.

The Friday decision was made weeks after the airline said it was considering the service suspension in early September – when the airline asked the Federal Aviation Administration to increase capacity at JFK, which United said hadn’t changed since 2008.

At the time, the airline also said that it had been trying, without success, to acquire additional, permanent slots through the FAA for more than a year.

The FAA and United had “constructive” discussions regarding “operational improvements” in the New York and New Jersey region, according to the memo from Friday.

In a statement from earlier last month, the FAA said that the agency “continually looks for ways to increase the efficiency of airspace in busy metropolitan areas safely,” adding that the FAA “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.”

United declared on Friday that it was “eager” to get back to JFK “as soon as possible.”

The airline noted that “no one is losing their job, “this news is especially tough for the 100 employees who work at JFK today,”  The memo states that United will transfer its current JFK staff to other close-by sites.

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