United Airlines is temporarily halting service at JFK Airport in New York, saying its schedule is too small to remain competitive.
In a note shared with CNN Business, the airline said the start of the winter season, when more airlines are resuming flights to and from JFK, contributed to its “difficult decision.”
“JFK’s importance to our operations has not changed – we believe New York customers deserve more choice, and strong service from United to JFK is good for our customers, our employees and our airline,” United said in the letter. “As a result, we will continue our pursuit of a larger and more desirable schedule for our customers and stand ready to seize these opportunities if and when they arise.”
United negotiated with the FAA to acquire additional slots, or take-off and landing clearances, at JFK and advocated for the agency to update its assessment of the airport’s capacity. United said its discussions with the regulator had been “constructive” and it was clear the FAA was serious about operational improvements in the New York area.
But United said those improvements would take time.
“The FAA is committed to doing its part to safely expand New York’s airports and airspace capacity,” the agency said in a statement Sunday. “We will follow our fair and well-established process for allocating future slots to increase competition between airlines so passengers have more options.”
Earlier this month, United threatened to withdraw service from the airport unless the FAA granted it additional slots. The airline had resumed service to JFK in March 2021 after a 5-year hiatus and was also trying to acquire slots from other airlines.
United said 100 employees work at JFK and the airline has assured the team they will not lose their jobs and will instead be relocated to nearby locations.
The suspension will begin on October 29. United said it was “working with customers” who booked tickets after that date.