United will cut Newark’s schedule by 12% this summer
Citing air traffic congestion, United Airlines said Thursday it would reduce daily domestic flights from its busy Newark hub by 12%.
The reduction starts in July and there are about 50 flights per day.
Newark is a critical New York-Area junction in United’s flight network and is one of the most frequently delayed and canceled U.S. airports.
Executive John Roitmann wrote in a message to staff shared with CNN that the changes to the schedule “will help reduce extreme delays and improve on-time performance – not just for our customers but for everyone flying from Newark.”
Scott Kirby, CEO of United, recently told CNN’s Richard Quest, “The biggest problem is that more flights are planned in Newark, for example, at airport capacity, even on perfect blue skies and less air traffic control and therefore, more than the airport can handle.” There are flights. “
United are currently in a tussle with several airlines, including Spirit, over reasons for airport congestion. United claimed in a May letter to the FAA that other carriers were “creating a crisis on the EWR” by scheduling too many peak-hour flights.
Spirit asserted that United had a “virtual monopoly position in Newark.”
The Federal Aviation Administration does not control takeoff and landing slots in Newark to the extent that it does at some of the other most crowded airports in the country. United said they have received a waiver from the FAA “for the rest of the summer” to protect future rights to the airport.
In a statement, the agency said: “The FAA has allowed United Airlines not to use certain slots at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) due to multiple gates and runway construction.”
United said it has staff to support its schedule and “plans to return to Newark on a full schedule as soon as possible.”
United is the latest in many US carriers trimming their summer schedules. Last month, Delta Air Lines announced a reduction of 100 flights a day from its schedule this summer. JetBlue Airways and Alaska Airlines have also reduced flights.
Concerns over air travel are growing as demand picks up this summer.
In a recent private conversation, Transportation Secretary Pete Butigieg called on airline officials to review their flight schedules and take other steps to reduce the impact of summer flight cancellations.