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United Airlines suspends service at JFK Airport

New York

United Airlines is temporarily suspending service at New York’s JFK airport, saying its schedule there is too tight to remain competitive.

In a memo shared with CNN Business, the airline said the start of the winter season, when more airlines continue to fly to and from JFK, contributed to the “difficult decision.”

“The importance of JFK to our operations has not changed — we believe New York customers deserve more choices, and robust United service to JFK is good for our customers, our employees and our airline,” United said in the letter. “As a result, we will continue our pursuit of a larger and more desirable schedule for our clients and be ready to seize these opportunities if and when they arise.”

United has been negotiating with the FAA to obtain more slots, or take-off and landing authorizations, at JFK and has advocated for the agency to update its assessment of the airport’s capacity. United said its discussions with the regulator have been “constructive” and that it is clear the FAA is serious about operational improvements in the New York region.

But United said those improvements would take time.

“The FAA is dedicated to doing its part to safely expand New York City’s airports and airspace capacity,” the agency said in a statement Sunday. “We will follow our fair and well-established process for allocating future slots to increase competition between airlines so passengers have more options.”

Earlier this month, United threatened to pull service from the airport if the FAA didn’t give it more seats. The airline had resumed service at JFK in March 2021 after a 5-year hiatus, and was also trying to acquire slot machines from other airlines.

United said 100 employees work at JFK and that the airline was making sure the team would not lose their jobs and instead be transferred to nearby locations.

The suspension starts on October 29. United said it is “working with customers” who booked tickets after that date.

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