United Airlines to stop operations at JFK if flight allocation not increased

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United Airlines, one of the largest airline companies in the USA, has issued a warning to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that it will suspend its services at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) if it does not receive permits for additional flights.

Reportedly, United Chief Executive Scott Kirby wrote a letter to FAA and its acting Administrator Billy Nolen, where in clear terms he demanded the needful. 

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“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,” wrote Kirby in the letter.

“That would obviously be a tough and frustrating step to take and one that we have worked really hard to prevent,” he further added. 

It is pertinent to note that ever since the airport reopened after a COVID-19-induced hiatus in 2021, United Airlines is only flying twice daily to San Francisco and Los Angeles from the airport. According to data, JFK is the busiest New York airport and a major airline only operating a small percentage of flights at the airport is not good for the business.

However, FAA took a measured stance in response to the letter and asserted that it “must consider airspace capacity and runway capacity to assess how changes would affect flights at nearby airports. Any additional slots at JFK would follow the FAA’s well-established process of awarding them fairly and to increase competition.”

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Despite making infrastructure improvements such as widening the runways, and multi-entrance taxiways, FAA and Port Authority have not increased the airport’s total flight capacity. 

Moreover, United Airlines had leased its quota of 40 daily takeoffs and landings to Delta Airlines in two separate deals in 2014 and 2015. And since the deal is yet to expire in the foreseeable future, the airline has no option but to demand FAA to increase its slots. 

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(With inputs from agencies)

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