United Airlines suspends service at JFK Airport

New York

United Airlines has temporarily suspended services at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, 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 resume flights to and from JFK, contributed to its “difficult decision.”

“The importance of JFK to our operations remains unchanged – we believe New York customers deserve more choice, and strong United service to JFK is good for our customers, our employees, and our airlines,” United said in the letter. “As a result, we will continue to strive for a schedule that is larger and more desirable for our customers and will be ready to take advantage of these opportunities if and when they arise.”

United has been negotiating with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for additional slots, or take-off and landing permits, at JFK, and is calling for the agency to update its assessment of the airport’s capacity. United said its discussions with the regulator were “constructive” and it was clear that the FAA was serious about operational improvements in the New York area.

But United said those improvements will take time.

“The Federal Aviation Administration is dedicated to doing its part to safely expand New York City’s airports and airspace capacity,” the agency said in a statement Sunday. “We will follow our fair and established process of awarding future time slots to increase competition between airlines so that passengers have more choices.”

Earlier this month, United threatened to withdraw service from the airport if the FAA did not give it additional slots. The airline resumed service at JFK in March 2021 after a 5-year hiatus, and was also trying to get slots from other airlines.

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

Commentary will begin on October 29. United said it was “working with customers” who had booked their tickets after that date.

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