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United Airlines to end all flights to JFK in October

United, the third largest domestic carrier in the U.S., currently operates two daily flights from JFK, both to San Francisco and Los Angeles

United Airlines
United Airlines | Shutterstock/travelview

September 30, 2022 8:43pm

Updated: September 30, 2022 8:46pm

United Airlines on Friday said it will suspend all flights to New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) by late October if the government does not allow the airline to increase operations at the airport.

United, the third largest domestic carrier in the U.S., currently operates two daily flights from JFK, both to San Francisco and Los Angeles, which resumed in 2021.

"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," United said in a memo sent to Reuters.

Earlier this month, United threatened to make a move if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not grant the airline more flight slots. United has been seeking to acquire additional slots—take-off and landing authorizations—through discussions with the FAA and seeking commercial agreements to buy slots from other airlines.

"The reason is simple: without permanent slots, we can’t serve JFK effectively compared to the larger schedules and more attractive flight times flown by our competitors," the airline said in a letter to employees. "For example, JetBlue currently flies to Los Angeles six times more often from JFK than United does, and American flies there more than four times as frequently."

While its “discussions with the FAA have been constructive,” the airline said, "it's also clear that the process to add additional capacity at JFK will take some time."

The FAA said Friday it is "dedicated to doing its part to safely expand New York City airports and airspace capacity. We will follow our fair and well-established process to award future slots to increase competition."

The decision to leave New York’s busiest airport will impact around 100 employees who work at the airport. However, United stressed that “no one is losing their job” and that current employees will be transferred to nearby stations.