United Asks for More Slots and Threatens to Stop Service at JFK
United Airlines has threatened to end serviceto New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not give the carrier additional flights.
United Chief Executive Scott Kirby wrote to Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen last week to urge him to increase capacity at JFK. The information was revealed in an email send to employees that was seen by Reuters.
Currently, United flies twice daily to San Francisco and Los Angeles from JFK, where it resumed service in 2021. JFK is the busiest airport in the NYC area, and ranks 13th in the country.
“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.
The FAA on the other hand said 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.”
The Chicago-based carrier is the third largest domestic airline behind American and Delta. United pulled out of JFK in 2015 and decided to concentrate on its local hub at Newark, leasing its 24 year-round slots to rival Delta Air Lines.
United argues there is room to grow at JFK because 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.”