Airlines cut summer hours at New York and DC area airports: Travel Weekly

Several U.S. carriers are cutting spring and summer flights on the New York and Washington, D.C. routes, at least in part to try to avoid the congestion and delays that airlines experienced last summer, have confirmed multiple carriers.

The moves come after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration granted carriers schedule flexibility in those cities.

On March 22, the FAA announced that it would give airlines flexibility on the slot usage requirements it has put in place at New York’s John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia International Airports as well as at the Washington’s Reagan National Airport due to understaffed air traffic controllers.

As of April 3, American Airlines had cut 4,790 flights to or from JFK, LaGuardia and Reagan National, as well as Newark Liberty International Airport, from its May 1 to September 30 schedule compared to what had was filed on February 3, 2023, according to data from Cirium.

United Airlines was close behind with 4,353 flights cut, while JetBlue had so far cut 3,565 flights. Delta had cut 1983 so far. Southwest had made no cuts to its schedule as of April 3.

“In response to the FAA’s waiver of slots, American will temporarily reduce frequencies on certain routes out of LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International Airport this summer,” according to an AA statement. “We are proactively reaching out to affected customers to offer alternative travel arrangements.”

American, Delta and United also sent March 22 each of the FAA’s letters in support of summer 2023 slot waivers, provided no other airlines were allowed into their slots. Delta and United have asked the FAA to grant limited, conditional waivers of up to 10% of their slots at JFK, LaGuardia and Reagan National – the latter only for flights to and from the New York area.

Delta and United have also asked the FAA to approve the voluntary return of operating hours to Newark for the peak summer season from May 15 to September 15.

Carriers have until April 30 to specify their plans for the slots for which they are requesting waivers, according to the FAA.

The waiver is intended to “ensure safe and smooth air travel to and from New York City,” according to the FAA. And while the agency said it encourages carriers to take measures such as flying larger planes to minimize the effects of any canceled flights on passengers, the waiver “is granted to give carriers the opportunity to reduce their operations during the peak summer travel period. And it seems that’s exactly what American, Delta, United and JetBlue are doing.

Based on Cirium data from May through September, the biggest changes American filed were the removal of 340 flights from LaGuardia to Dallas, 332 from LaGuardia to Chicago O’Hare, 273 from Newark to Charlotte and 254 from Newark at O’Hare. .

Additional routes with discounts include flights between LaGuardia and Reagan National, as well as flights from LaGuardia to Columbus, Ohio; Miami; and Saint Louis.

JetBlue said that after the FAA’s announcement, it began reviewing options for reducing its flight schedule at JFK and LaGuardia, and that “we will share specific details about our schedule reduction once we will have finalized our plan,” according to a statement. “While it is disappointing to reduce flights for customers as they plan their summer vacations and New York City struggles to recover from the pandemic, we are pleased that the management team FAA is working proactively to address this and is transparent about the understaffing.”

JetBlue for the period reviewed by Cirium had so far updated its schedule with flight reductions on several routes: 524 fewer flights from JFK to Boston, 219 fewer flights from JFK to Buffalo, NY, 216 fewer flights from JFK in Los Angeles and 214 less than JFK. at Miami.

Delta also noted that it is reviewing its network “to ensure the best customer experience throughout the summer travel season, and we are committed to working with the FAA on measures to ensure safe and efficient operations in NY/NJ airports,” he said. in a report. He didn’t say whether any cuts had already been made, and United didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but each carrier has made cuts for the May-September period.

Delta has reduced 362 flights from LaGuardia to Dulles, 220 from LaGuardia to University Park Airport in Center County, Penn., 131 from LaGuardia to Reagan National, 122 from Reagan National to LaGuardia, 121 from Newark to Boston and 119 from JFK to Bangor. , Maine.

United cut 293 roundtrip flights between Newark and Reagan National, 393 from Newark to Miami, 294 from Newark to Fort Lauderdale and 223 from Newark to Orlando. Other affected routes include Newark to Palm Beach, Tampa, Dulles, San Francisco and Pittsburgh.

Airlines are changing their schedules more widely

The cuts allowed by the FAA waiver are just part of the schedule reductions that carriers have enacted for this spring and summer, for reasons including pilot shortages, aircraft delivery delays and the desire to provide reliable operation with continued high demand in order to avoid the disruptions that occurred early last summer.

It was reported in February that American had cut nearly 50,000 flights from its summer schedule, in March that American and United were cutting their schedules for the season, and also in March that Delta had cut more than 6,000 flights. of summer.

Cirium at the request of BTN provided May 1 to Sept. 30 flight data comparing the schedules filed on April 3 with those previously filed on February 3. American had shown 85,069 reduced flights, United had 28,081, Delta had 16,459 and JetBlue had 11,215.

These figures are only reductions. Each carrier also made additions to its flight schedules during this period, but all four airlines posted a sharp drop in the number of scheduled flights as of April 3 compared to what was filed on February 3.

Regarding the 6,000 reductions reported for Delta, the carrier responded that “this is a routine adjustment of regional flights and represents a very small reduction over a four month period, equivalent to a reduction of 1.5 % of flights week over week,” according to a statement. “We will continue to take a strategic and measured approach to rebuilding our network, matching our supply to demand.”

For American, “these adjustments are consistent with our approach to our network and scheduling throughout the year,” according to an AA statement. “A booked schedule is released 331 days in advance, then adjustments are made closer to the schedule we intend to operate. We now release our final schedule approximately 100 days in advance , which is how we adjusted our schedule in 2019 before the pandemic.”

According to American’s schedule, its schedule for the last half of August and September has not yet been finalized, so additional flights could still be cut or added.

The same, of course, could be said for all carriers. Additionally, flight reductions do not necessarily mean capacity reductions, as carriers could increase remaining flights to larger planes with more seats. Carriers could further address summer schedule plans this month by detailing first-quarter revenue, starting with Delta on April 13.

Source: Business Travel News

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