United Airlines suspends service at JFK Airport

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United Airlines is temporarily suspending service at New York’s JFK Airport because the schedule there is too small to remain competitive.

In a note shared with CNN Business, the airline said the start of the winter season, as more airlines resume flying to and from JFK, contributed to its “tough decision.”

“The importance of JFK to our operation has not changed — we believe New York customers deserve more choices, and a robust United service 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 be ready to seize those opportunities as and when they arise.”

United has negotiated with the FAA to acquire additional slots, or take-off and landing authorizations, at JFK and is calling for the agency to update its assessment of the airport’s capacity. United said discussions with the regulator have been “constructive” and it is clear that the FAA is taking operational improvements in the New York area seriously.

But United said these improvements would take time.

“The FAA is committed to doing its part to safely expand New York City’s airports and airspace capacity,” the agency said in a statement on Sunday. “We will follow our fair and established process to allocate future slots to increase competition between airlines so that passengers have more options.”

Earlier this month, United threatened to withdraw service from the airport if the FAA didn’t give it extra slots. The airline was back in business at JFK in March 2021 after a 5-year hiatus and also tried to acquire slots from other airlines.

United said 100 employees work at JFK and the airline has ensured that the team will not lose their jobs and is instead being relocated to nearby locations.

The suspension starts on October 29. United said it is “working with customers” who have booked tickets after that date.

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