United Airlines details temporary Newark, New Jersey airport flight cuts

United Airlines details temporary Newark, New Jersey airport flight cuts
© Reuters. The One World trace Center and the New York skyline are seen while United Airlines planes use the tarmac as pilots from United Airlines take part in an informational picket at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., May 12, 2023.

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – United Airlines said on Wednesday its decision to cut about 15 flights from its daily schedule in Newark in August and early September will affect less than 4% of travelers flying out of its New Jersey hub.

Last week, Chicago-based United said it would drop to about 395 flights from 410 at the New York City-area airport after operational issues. On Wednesday, the airline said it will temporarily end service between Honolulu and Newark through Sept. 4 but not cut any international flights.

I In April, United said it would reduce daily departures from Newark to 408 from 438 on peak summer travel days after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) agreed to grant waivers to allow airlines not to fly up to 10% of flights at some congested airports, citing air traffic controller shortages.

A government audit said staffing issues pose risks to the continuity of air traffic operations. U.S. airlines, including United, have urged more hiring of air traffic controllers.

United CEO Scott Kirby (NYSE:) met with the acting head of the FAA on July 11, weeks after he criticized its air traffic control performance.

“Newark has more flights scheduled than the physical infrastructure can handle,” Kirby said then.

In a June 26 memo to employees after a weekend of traffic control problems, Kirby said “the FAA frankly failed us,” estimating that more than 150,000 customers on United alone were affected by “FAA staffing issues and their ability to manage traffic.”

Kirby, in remarks at a forum the same day as his meeting with Acting FAA Administrator Polly Trottenberg, struck a new tone. The FAA had been “particularly helpful, responsive and communicative” in the previous two weeks, he said.


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