United Airlines says it needs more flights to make service to the airport work. And if it doesn’t get slots for more flights, it will terminate service in October.
United is flying just twice daily to San Francisco and Los Angeles from JFK, the busiest New York-area airport, after resuming service in 2021.
“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,” United’s email said.
Here’s what happened:
- United walked away from New York JFK in 2015, leasing its slots to Delta
- But that was dumb, because they lost corporate deals in places like Los Angeles – those customers didn’t want to fly to Newark. United lost business from Disney and Time Warner to American not just on Los Angeles – New York but also Los Angeles – London and myriad other service as well.
- So they worked hard to return and scrounged for slots during the pandemic
- While they complain Newark (where they dominate) is too congested, they claim JFK has room to grow – and growth slots should be given to them
- They’re also trying to secure slots from other airlines, not just get them for free.
Newark isn’t New York — New York Mayor Fiorella LaGuardia once refused to get off a plane at Newark Airport, because his ticket promised he’d travel to New York. He was at the time pushing for construction of what became LaGuardia airport.
United needs to be at New York JFK, but they’re having trouble reversing the mistake they made under disgraced former CEO Jeff Smisek. Even if they secure slots for more flights, it’s not clear which terminal they will operate from once terminal 7 – scheduled to be torn down once British Airways relocates to terminal 8 this year – closes.