United Airlines is temporarily halting service at New York’s JFK Airport, saying its schedule there 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 flying to and from JFK, contributed to its “difficult decision.”
“The significance of JFK to our operation hasn’t changed — we think New York customers deserve more choices, and 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 bigger and more desirable schedule for our customers and be ready to seize those opportunities if and when they surface.”
United has been negotiating with the FAA to acquire additional slots, or takeoff and landing authorizations, at JFK and advocating for the agency to update its assessment of the airport’s capacity. United said its discussions with the regulator have been “constructive” and that it is clear the FAA is serious about operational improvements in the New York region.
But United said these improvements would take time.
“The FAA is dedicated to doing its part to safely expand New York City airports and airspace capacity” the agency said in a statement Sunday. “We will follow our fair and well-established process to award future slots to increase competition between airlines so passengers have more options.”
Earlier this month, United threatened to pull service from the airport if the FAA did not give it additional slots. The airline had resumed service at 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 ensured the team they won’t lose their jobs and instead be transferred to nearby locations.
The suspension will begin October 29. United said it is “working with customers” who have tickets booked after that date.