Citing a “too-small-to-be-competitive schedule out of John F. Kennedy [airport],” United Airlines announced that it will temporarily halt flights out of New York’s major international travel hub after its last inbound flights on October 29.
According to Reuters, the company had been asking the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to grant it additional flights for quite some time but, alas, things haven’t changed much—which led to the recent surprising, albeit non-permanent, decision.
“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 airline said to Travel + Leisure. “We know this news is especially tough for the 100 employees who work at JFK today. We held a series of in-person meetings […] to ensure our team knows that no one is losing their job and that we’re going to work hard to make their transition to other nearby stations as smooth as possible.”
The airline will continue operating its four flights per day out of the airport through the end of the month. After that, it will rely on its service out of Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport until a more satisfying solution can be found in connection to its operations at JFK.
United actually resumed flying out of the hub earlier this year following a five-year-long pandemic-fueled hiatus. Earlier on during the pandemic, the airline was able to make use of takeoff and landing opportunities left temporarily vacant by other companies. “But now that travel demand has recovered, those airlines have reclaimed those slots,” reports the New York Times.
For what it’s worth, the FAA made public its intention to find additional flight space.
“We will follow our fair and well-established process to award future slots to increase competition between airlines so passengers have more options,” the agency said in an official statement. “We are encouraged United will retain and relocate its JFK staff to its other New York City airports.”
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.