United Threatens to Stop Flying at JFK If It Doesn’t Get More Slots

United Threatens to Stop Flying at JFK

United Threatens to Stop Flying at JFK If It Doesn’t Get More Slots

United Airlines said on Tuesday it plans to stop serving New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in October if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not grant the carrier additional flights.

United delivered the message in a letter from United CEO Scott Kirby to acting Federal Aviation Administration chief Billy Nolen last week. It was also revealed in an email to employees that was seen by Reuters.

United currently flies twice daily to San Francisco and Los Angeles from JFK. “If we are not able to get additional allocations for multiple seasons, we will need to suspend service at JFK, effective at the end of October,” Kirby wrote.

The Chicago-based carrier, is the third largest domestic airline behind American and Delta. The airline claims that without additional permanent slots, it cannot operate out of JFK “effectively compared to the larger schedules and more attractive flight times flown by [its] competitors,” including JetBlue and American.

United says there is room to grow at JFK, which is the 13th-busiest U.S. airport. The FAA and the Port Authority since 2008 have made significant infrastructure investments including “the widening of runways, construction of multi-entrance taxiways, and the creation of aligned high-speed turnoffs.”

The FAA said that “any additional slots at JFK would follow the FAA’s well-established process of awarding them fairly and to increase competition.”

In 2015, United pulled out of JFK and decided to concentrate on its local hub at Newark. When it left, it leased its 24 year-round slots to rival Delta Air Lines.

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