United Airlines to halt service at New York’s JFK airport in October

WASHINGTON, September 30 (Reuters) – United Airlines (UAL.O) announced on Friday that it would suspend service at the end of October to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK).

Earlier this month, United threatened action if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not grant the carrier additional flights.

United only flies twice a day to San Francisco and Los Angeles from JFK, the busiest airport in the New York area, after service resumes in 2021.

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“Given our current schedule, which is too small to be competitive out of JFK – coupled with the start of the winter season where more airlines will be operating their slots as they resume JFK flights – United has made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend service at JFK,” United said in a memo seen by Reuters. The airline did not say when it might resume service.

United said their “discussions with the FAA have been constructive”, but added “it is also clear that the process of adding additional capacity to JFK will take some time”.

United said the decision would impact 100 employees who work at JFK, but stressed “no one is losing their jobs” and employees will move to other nearby stations.

United has worked to seek additional slots – which are takeoff and landing clearances – through the FAA and by seeking commercial agreements to acquire slots from other airlines.

The FAA said Friday it was “committed to doing its part to safely expand New York’s airports and airspace capacity. We will follow our fair and well-established process for allocating future slots in order to increase competition”.

United said that without permanent slots it could not serve JFK “efficiently compared to the larger schedules and more attractive flight schedules operated by” JetBlue Airways. (JBLU.O) and American Airlines (AAL.O).

United in 2015 entered into a long-term agreement to lease 24 year-round slots at JFK to Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) as it ended JFK service to focus on its nearby Newark hub in northern New Jersey.

United says there is room to expand at JFK, the 13th busiest U.S. airport, as the FAA and Port Authority since 2008 have made significant infrastructure investments, including “expanding tracks, construction of multiple-entrance taxiways, and creation of aligned high-speed bifurcations.

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Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Sandra Maler and Aurora Ellis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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