If additional flight slots are not made available to United Airlines by the month of October, the airline will terminate its service at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
According to a report from Reuters, United CEO Scott Kirby sent a message to staff on September 6 detailing the company’s plan and pushing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to raise the number of flights that may be accommodated at the airport.
At the moment, the airline runs four flights each day departing from JFK and travelling to either Los Angeles or San Francisco. When the airline temporarily ceased operations at JFK in 2015, it leased twenty-five of its permanent slots to Delta Airlines. United had to wait until 2021 to return to the airport before it could recover the gates that were previously used by Delta.
Newark Liberty International Airport is United’s primary airport in the New York metropolitan area. At this airport, United is responsible for operating 69 percent of all flights that originate or terminate at Newark Liberty International Airport.
According to the memo written by Kirby, if United does not acquire additional slots at JFK, the company will be unable to compete with airlines such as JetBlue and American Airlines.
According to a statement released by the FAA, the mechanism by which future capacity at JFK will be allocated “would follow the FAA’s well-established process of granting them equitably and to encourage competition.”