Given capacity constraints, United Airlines plans to end service at John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK). As Reuters reported, the carrier is asking the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for additional flight slots. The company claims it is necessary to keep its operation at New York’s famous airport. 

Currently, United is flying just twice daily to San Francisco and Los Angeles from JFK. JFK airport is the busiest New York-area airport. “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 Chief Executive Scott Kirby said in an email that was seen by Reuters.

Additional slots at JFK

According to Reuters, the FAA said it “must consider airspace capacity and runway capacity to assess how changes would affect flights at nearby airports. The agency added that  any additional slots at JFK would follow its well-established process of awarding them fairly and to increase competition.”

United said that its intention of acquiring additional slots is to make the airline bigger and more competitive”. However, if the company does not get permanent slots, it will not be able to “effectively compared to the larger schedules and more attractive flight times flown by our competitors” like JetBlue Airways and American Airlines,” United commented.

In June, the FAA approved United’s request to temporarily cut about 50 daily summer departures from its Newark airport hub to address congestion. This represents 12% of United’s 425 daily flights at Newark, Reuters said. United is the dominant airline in the Newark airport, operating 69% of flights.

The John F. Kennedy International Airport is the ninth largest airport in the US. It is the 13th biggest airport in the world. The airport serves around 60 million customers a year. Currently, more than 70 airlines operate in JFK.