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floridaflyboy
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Updated: United ends JFK service October 2022

Wed Sep 07, 2022 1:19 pm

I know this has been touched on in the UA network thread, but I feel like it kind of deserves its own conversation. This would sure be a shame if after just a year or so, UA left JFK altogether again. I can understand how it must be a little tricky with just a couple flights each to LAX and SFO, but after they were so clear that it was a mistake to leave JFK the first time, I'm a bit surprised to see them considering it again.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... re-flights
Last edited by SQ22 on Wed Sep 07, 2022 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
TYWoolman
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 1:22 pm

This is just a power play to get more slots due to the NEA soon going to litigation. imo.
 
floridaflyboy
Topic Author
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 1:26 pm

TYWoolman wrote:
This is just a power play to get more slots due to the NEA soon going to litigation. imo.


Sure could be. And not a bad time to make a play, I suppose. I'm just surprised by their stated timeline that they'd leave JFK by the end of October if they don't get more slots. That's only a month and a half away. I can't imagine any court or government agency moving that quickly.
 
TYWoolman
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 1:32 pm

floridaflyboy wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
This is just a power play to get more slots due to the NEA soon going to litigation. imo.


Sure could be. And not a bad time to make a play, I suppose. I'm just surprised by their stated timeline that they'd leave JFK by the end of October if they don't get more slots. That's only a month and a half away. I can't imagine any court or government agency moving that quickly.



Well it puts their concerns out there about the potential jetBlue/AA tie-up. It also serves to try to eliminate any Delta move/concern about the NEA when Delta is actually leasing United slots. United can always "redact" their threat until further notice of potential NEA remedies, I suppose.
 
USAirALB
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 1:32 pm

They should have never left JFK in the first place...given the short timeline (October), I think it is fair to say the flights simply aren't performing as UA had hoped and this provides a quick exit route.

Frankly at present, they have the worst premium transcon product ex JFK...no lounges, a dumpy terminal, planes without all-aisle access in J, etc. Recall that when they originally re-launched JFK, they had used hi-J 763s, and quickly down-gauged the route to 752s..
 
codc10
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 1:41 pm

TYWoolman wrote:
This is just a power play to get more slots due to the NEA soon going to litigation. imo.


Bench trial starts 9/27... hmmmm... impeccable timing...

But, this being A.net, get ready to relitigate 2015, the merger, Jeff Smisek, CO branding, retiring 757s, etc., all over again! :banghead:

USAirALB wrote:
They should have never left JFK in the first place...given the short timeline (October), I think it is fair to say the flights simply aren't performing as UA had hoped and this provides a quick exit route.

Frankly at present, they have the worst premium transcon product ex JFK...no lounges, a dumpy terminal, planes without all-aisle access in J, etc. Recall that when they originally re-launched JFK, they had used hi-J 763s, and quickly down-gauged the route to 752s..


I'm not sure if it's fair at all to say the routes are not performing as UA had hoped... flights are generally full, but where United fell short of its own expectations was its ability to source additional slots. That just never came to fruition. Is that just supposition on your part?

The downgauge to 757s was actually a slight increase in capacity, and came as the 76Ls were progressively removed from transcons and redeployed to the markets for which they were originally intended (LHR, ZRH, GVA, etc.). At the moment, the 76L is not in use on transcons.

United Business passengers on the JFK/LAX flights have access to the Alaska Lounge. Right now, as best I can tell, the only airline that is 100% all-aisle-access on JFK-LAX/SFO transcons is DL, substantially with the 763 product, certainly not its best. AA 321T flights are only all-aisle-access in F, and B6 is a mixed bag.

United's soft product is garbage, but IMO their biggest weakness is schedule, not any product aspect.
 
ScottB
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 2:16 pm

codc10 wrote:
I'm not sure if it's fair at all to say the routes are not performing as UA had hoped... flights are generally full, but where United fell short of its own expectations was its ability to source additional slots. That just never came to fruition. Is that just supposition on your part?


If the flights are performing as well as hoped, there would be no reason to leave JFK again. Even if United can't pick up more slots quickly to improve frequency, it would still make sense to play the long game and continue to operate the flights if they were performing reasonably well.

TYWoolman wrote:
It also serves to try to eliminate any Delta move/concern about the NEA when Delta is actually leasing United slots. United can always "redact" their threat until further notice of potential NEA remedies, I suppose.


Strategically, United should be on the same page as Delta if they want more slots at JFK. The worst-case scenario for UA with respect to JFK (and EWR as well) would be for AA and B6 to be permitted to continue with the NEA with no concessions. DL is unlikely to be the beneficiary of any potential concessions by AA & B6 since they are the largest carrier at LGA and neck-and-neck with B6 for largest at JFK. Slot/gate concessions at JFK would go to new/limited entrants at the airport, and with only four slot pairs, UA falls into that category. If the NEA is voided by the courts, UA benefits as well: AA's market position in NYC isn't viable, so it's likely they would seek to reduce their slot holdings at JFK and LGA.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 2:18 pm

floridaflyboy wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
This is just a power play to get more slots due to the NEA soon going to litigation. imo.


Sure could be. And not a bad time to make a play, I suppose. I'm just surprised by their stated timeline that they'd leave JFK by the end of October if they don't get more slots. That's only a month and a half away. I can't imagine any court or government agency moving that quickly.


This is the 'We tried. They wouldn't let us succeed.' corporate communications cover strategy. I second the suggestion that the downgauging suggests that load factors and yields aren't what they wanted. This might also suggest that people fly UA out of EWR more because they like the convenience of EWR than because they like UA's product(s). That will give the people in HQ something to think on.
 
codc10
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 2:27 pm

floridaflyboy wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
This is just a power play to get more slots due to the NEA soon going to litigation. imo.


Sure could be. And not a bad time to make a play, I suppose. I'm just surprised by their stated timeline that they'd leave JFK by the end of October if they don't get more slots. That's only a month and a half away. I can't imagine any court or government agency moving that quickly.


Slots are allocated based on IATA seasons: northern summer is March-October, winter is October-March. The FAA slot usage exemption for JFK is due to expire at the end of October. Also note the DOJ case against the AA/B6 NEA is going to a bench trial in about 3 weeks.

ScottB wrote:
If the flights are performing as well as hoped, there would be no reason to leave JFK again. Even if United can't pick up more slots quickly to improve frequency, it would still make sense to play the long game and continue to operate the flights if they were performing reasonably well.


Right now, United is using slots sourced from other carriers who have opted out due to FAA-authorized exemptions from usage requirements. These are not United-held slots. When those exemptions expire at the end of S22, the incumbent slot holders are again subject to the same "use-it-or-lose-it" requirements as before. Apparently, those operators wish to return to their prior slot holdings. If the incumbent carrier wants back in at JFK, United has no right to those slots, so they cannot "play the long game and continue to operate the flights," as you say.

I believe there is some ulterior PR motive here, given the AA/B6 dispute with the DOJ and impending B6/NK merger, as United is jockeying to benefit from a slot divestiture. But at its root, there is truth to the notion that United's return to JFK was always temporary subject to the reacquisition of permanent slots, which hasn't happened.

ScottB wrote:
Strategically, United should be on the same page as Delta if they want more slots at JFK. The worst-case scenario for UA with respect to JFK (and EWR as well) would be for AA and B6 to be permitted to continue with the NEA with no concessions. DL is unlikely to be the beneficiary of any potential concessions by AA & B6 since they are the largest carrier at LGA and neck-and-neck with B6 for largest at JFK. Slot/gate concessions at JFK would go to new/limited entrants at the airport, and with only four slot pairs, UA falls into that category. If the NEA is voided by the courts, UA benefits as well: AA's market position in NYC isn't viable, so it's likely they would seek to reduce their slot holdings at JFK and LGA.


So, you get the picture. There is strategic advantage to United publicly painting AA/B6 as anti-consumer and serving as an effective obstacle to competiton. If this was to be an "internal" memorandum, it would not have nearly the wide release (including newswires like Reuters) it's garnered. And there is more to come over the next few weeks. United sees itself as the best-positioned US carrier to benefit from an AA/B6 divestiture at JFK. NK has to take a back seat due to the B6 merger. Southwest doesn't want in; they cut bait at Newark for reasons that would also be huge factors at Kennedy. JFK really isn't a fit for any of the ULCCs. Who's left?

Delta, on the other hand, already has incumbent positions at BOS and JFK/LGA, and doesn't stand to gain slots, so there's no reason for it to take an activist position.

MIflyer12 wrote:
floridaflyboy wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
This is just a power play to get more slots due to the NEA soon going to litigation. imo.


Sure could be. And not a bad time to make a play, I suppose. I'm just surprised by their stated timeline that they'd leave JFK by the end of October if they don't get more slots. That's only a month and a half away. I can't imagine any court or government agency moving that quickly.


This is the 'We tried. They wouldn't let us succeed.' corporate communications cover strategy. I second the suggestion that the downgauging suggests that load factors and yields aren't what they wanted. This might also suggest that people fly UA out of EWR more because they like the convenience of EWR than because they like UA's product(s). That will give the people in HQ something to think on.


It *suggests* it, but you really don't know. Loads are good, yields are mediocre, but that's the story with mostly all transcons right now. There is more to the story than perceived underperformance.

United has always been willing to take on considerable losses if it means rebuilding its JFK franchise, which it views to be a long-term strategic play. Scott Kirby has basically said as much in investor calls, and United absolutely does not want to leave. If it is forced to do so, there will be kicking, screaming, lawsuits and every conceivable measure undertaken to retain service. They will not cut and run at JFK just because a few flights aren't "performing well"... that's the small-ball philosophy that led to previous management closing JFK in the first place. JFK hemorrhaged money early on, in the midst of the pandemic, when United re-entered with 767 service, but the company knew that was going to be the case all along, and was ready to absorb whatever losses came. That's still the case today.

There are more forces at play here, stay tuned.
 
airtran737
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 3:01 pm

I can tell you one thing, UA 757/767 pilots and flight attendants won’t be too heartbroken. This means they won’t have to find their way to JFK now from EWR to cover the flights.
 
caleb1
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 3:27 pm

airtran737 wrote:
I can tell you one thing, UA 757/767 pilots and flight attendants won’t be too heartbroken. This means they won’t have to find their way to JFK now from EWR to cover the flights.


I was under the impression that, at least for the flight attendants, LAX and SFO based crews were working the flights in and out of JFK. I could be mistaken though.
 
runningonempty
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 3:32 pm

caleb1 wrote:
airtran737 wrote:
I can tell you one thing, UA 757/767 pilots and flight attendants won’t be too heartbroken. This means they won’t have to find their way to JFK now from EWR to cover the flights.


I was under the impression that, at least for the flight attendants, LAX and SFO based crews were working the flights in and out of JFK. I could be mistaken though.


This is correct. Vast majority of the flights are staffed via west coast.
 
ScottB
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 3:35 pm

codc10 wrote:
ScottB wrote:
If the flights are performing as well as hoped, there would be no reason to leave JFK again. Even if United can't pick up more slots quickly to improve frequency, it would still make sense to play the long game and continue to operate the flights if they were performing reasonably well.


Right now, United is using slots sourced from other carriers who have opted out due to FAA-authorized exemptions from usage requirements. These are not United-held slots. When those exemptions expire at the end of S22, the incumbent slot holders are again subject to the same "use-it-or-lose-it" requirements as before. Apparently, those operators wish to return to their prior slot holdings. If the incumbent carrier wants back in at JFK, United has no right to those slots, so they cannot "play the long game and continue to operate the flights," as you say.

I believe there is some ulterior PR motive here, given the AA/B6 dispute with the DOJ and impending B6/NK merger, as United is jockeying to benefit from a slot divestiture. But at its root, there is truth to the notion that United's return to JFK was always temporary subject to the reacquisition of permanent slots, which hasn't happened.


If it's true that UA's potential departure is due to their slots being impermanent, then that's a perfectly valid reason to give as to why they are leaving -- "we are committed to JFK and intend to build a presence at Kennedy long-term, but we lose the right to use our temporary slots at JFK at the end of October" would be good messaging. The text of the email in question doesn't say that, though -- it cites the inability to source additional permanent slots for multiple seasons.
 
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fbgdavidson
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 3:44 pm

USAirALB wrote:
They should have never left JFK in the first place...given the short timeline (October), I think it is fair to say the flights simply aren't performing as UA had hoped and this provides a quick exit route.

Frankly at present, they have the worst premium transcon product ex JFK...no lounges, a dumpy terminal, planes without all-aisle access in J, etc. Recall that when they originally re-launched JFK, they had used hi-J 763s, and quickly down-gauged the route to 752s..


Terminal 7 isn't going to be around much longer. BA are due out by the end of November.
 
BoeingG
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 3:47 pm

EWR was a mistake. Too many conflicts with other area traffic. It should be leveled and JFK expanded into Jamaica Bay to form one mega airport (LGA can remain to serve domestic travel).
 
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jetblastdubai
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 3:54 pm

codc10 wrote:

Right now, United is using slots sourced from other carriers who have opted out due to FAA-authorized exemptions from usage requirements. These are not United-held slots. When those exemptions expire at the end of S22, the incumbent slot holders are again subject to the same "use-it-or-lose-it" requirements as before. Apparently, those operators wish to return to their prior slot holdings. If the incumbent carrier wants back in at JFK, United has no right to those slots, so they cannot "play the long game and continue to operate the flights," as you say.



:checkmark:
The above information lays it out pretty clear. UA might have ZERO slots available to use after the slot waiver exemption expires. The letter they put out makes it sound like if they can't get ADDITIONAL slots, they'd have to pull out when in reality, they might be losing the handful of slots they currently use.
 
flyfresno
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 3:55 pm

BoeingG wrote:
EWR was a mistake. Too many conflicts with other area traffic. It should be leveled and JFK expanded into Jamaica Bay to form one mega airport (LGA can remain to serve domestic travel).


I'd almost say EWR should stay and LGA should go. If there was a PVG-type maglev train from JFK to Manhattan (or even just JFK-Atlantic Terminal or JFK-Long Island City), LGA's location would become significantly less advantageous.
 
2travel2know2
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 4:02 pm

One could guess that there’s still probably a demand for morning and evening flights - both ways, regional jets - between JFK and UA hubs IAD, IAH and ORD; and perhaps, also demand for a daily (or weekend/peak) JFK-DEN/LAX/SFO as long as the flights are timed to operate when there’s the most demand.
IMHO, Terminals 1 or 4, might be more suitable for UA, because the (noticeable) Star Alliance presence in both.
 
IADCA
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 4:05 pm

TYWoolman wrote:
This is just a power play to get more slots due to the NEA soon going to litigation. imo.


It doesn't make a lot of sense except in this context. Facially, it's a ridiculous proposition for an airline that owns slots but leases them out to ask for the overall cap to be raised (and the increase awarded to them) simply because their own temporary arrangements that allow them to operate are ending. Any rational regulator would point out that if they lease their own slots out, they can get slots on the market - either by negotiating to cancel those leases or by finding someone else to lease them from.

What this does is put them front and center as a potential divestiture buyer in whatever comes out of the NEA litigation, especially if it's a negotiated settlement. It's not Exhibit A on the parties' pitch of United as a pro-competitive divesture buyer, but it's close.
 
floridaflyboy
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 4:06 pm

2travel2know2 wrote:
One could guess that there’s still probably a demand for morning and evening flights - both ways, regional jets - between JFK and UA hubs IAD, IAH and ORD; and perhaps, also demand for a daily (or weekend/peak) JFK-DEN/LAX/SFO as long as the flights are timed to operate when there’s the most demand.
IMHO, Terminals 1 or 4, might be more suitable for UA, because the (noticeable) Star Alliance presence in both.


What are you talking about? They don't serve any hubs except LAX and SFO from JFK. If they are saying they can't sustain that, they certainly can't sustain flights to connecting hubs.
 
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tlecam
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 4:18 pm

IADCA wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
This is just a power play to get more slots due to the NEA soon going to litigation. imo.


It doesn't make a lot of sense except in this context. Facially, it's a ridiculous proposition for an airline that owns slots but leases them out to ask for the overall cap to be raised (and the increase awarded to them) simply because their own temporary arrangements that allow them to operate are ending. Any rational regulator would point out that if they lease their own slots out, they can get slots on the market - either by negotiating to cancel those leases or by finding someone else to lease them from.

What this does is put them front and center as a potential divestiture buyer in whatever comes out of the NEA litigation, especially if it's a negotiated settlement. It's not Exhibit A on the parties' pitch of United as a pro-competitive divesture buyer, but it's close.


It's unlikely that the ruling from the NEA case will be out by the end of October. Trial starts at end of September; once those proceedings are done, the judge's clerks will do research and help with writing the ruling. Commonly takes months for the rulings to come out.

That aside, I agree that the NEA case is a factor in UA's position.
 
bigb
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 4:21 pm

caleb1 wrote:
airtran737 wrote:
I can tell you one thing, UA 757/767 pilots and flight attendants won’t be too heartbroken. This means they won’t have to find their way to JFK now from EWR to cover the flights.


I was under the impression that, at least for the flight attendants, LAX and SFO based crews were working the flights in and out of JFK. I could be mistaken though.


Most of the 756 JFK flying is covered by LAX and SFO based pilots however 756 based pilots still cover NYC3. This painful for sitting reserve as a commuter….
 
codc10
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 4:22 pm

tlecam wrote:
IADCA wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
This is just a power play to get more slots due to the NEA soon going to litigation. imo.


It doesn't make a lot of sense except in this context. Facially, it's a ridiculous proposition for an airline that owns slots but leases them out to ask for the overall cap to be raised (and the increase awarded to them) simply because their own temporary arrangements that allow them to operate are ending. Any rational regulator would point out that if they lease their own slots out, they can get slots on the market - either by negotiating to cancel those leases or by finding someone else to lease them from.

What this does is put them front and center as a potential divestiture buyer in whatever comes out of the NEA litigation, especially if it's a negotiated settlement. It's not Exhibit A on the parties' pitch of United as a pro-competitive divesture buyer, but it's close.


It's unlikely that the ruling from the NEA case will be out by the end of October. Trial starts at end of September; once those proceedings are done, the judge's clerks will do research and help with writing the ruling. Commonly takes months for the rulings to come out.

That aside, I agree that the NEA case is a factor in UA's position.


To the extent a settlement isn’t reached before trial…
 
dfwfanboy
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 4:23 pm

It's ironic hearing UA whine about not having access to JFK when they've, for years, done entire ad campaigns about the superiority of EWR over JFK, long after Smisek left. I think my personal favorite was the "time to JFK vs EWR" live billboards on taxis. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9Yu50z2iOY

They spent all that money trying to convince people NOT to go to JFK, then they went to JFK, now they're whining about not being able to stay.

Seems hard to believe they can't purchase the slots they want since there are any number of Asian (or Aeroflot?) carriers likely wishing they could get rid of some for the right price. Sounds more like the economics of their flights don't work if you factor in a slot purchase.
 
slcdeltarumd11
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 4:52 pm

Let’s be honest here. I don’t think united is doing well at JFK. In fact I’m sure they are not meeting their own expectations . They downgraded service from Polaris 767s to pretty tired much older 757 seats, zero Lounge access, not enough time options to really be useful for busy people. That premium frequent business traveler just isn’t out there in the same numbers as before Covid and United has by far the worst product on the route. Little reason to pick united , when the other airlines offer so much more on the route.

It is odd they chose such a close time, but they must be trying to get results or a change quickly? I’m not sure adding a few more flights is gonna save them. They need a lounge badly. Where they are at JFK in particular there is nothing at all to do in a delay, it’s a terrible place to get stuck.
 
codc10
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 4:56 pm

ScottB wrote:
codc10 wrote:
ScottB wrote:
If the flights are performing as well as hoped, there would be no reason to leave JFK again. Even if United can't pick up more slots quickly to improve frequency, it would still make sense to play the long game and continue to operate the flights if they were performing reasonably well.


Right now, United is using slots sourced from other carriers who have opted out due to FAA-authorized exemptions from usage requirements. These are not United-held slots. When those exemptions expire at the end of S22, the incumbent slot holders are again subject to the same "use-it-or-lose-it" requirements as before. Apparently, those operators wish to return to their prior slot holdings. If the incumbent carrier wants back in at JFK, United has no right to those slots, so they cannot "play the long game and continue to operate the flights," as you say.

I believe there is some ulterior PR motive here, given the AA/B6 dispute with the DOJ and impending B6/NK merger, as United is jockeying to benefit from a slot divestiture. But at its root, there is truth to the notion that United's return to JFK was always temporary subject to the reacquisition of permanent slots, which hasn't happened.


If it's true that UA's potential departure is due to their slots being impermanent, then that's a perfectly valid reason to give as to why they are leaving -- "we are committed to JFK and intend to build a presence at Kennedy long-term, but we lose the right to use our temporary slots at JFK at the end of October" would be good messaging. The text of the email in question doesn't say that, though -- it cites the inability to source additional permanent slots for multiple seasons.


This isn’t about full disclosure, or providing the “whole story”, though. It’s because the DOJ is suing AA/B6 for what it claims is an anticompetitive business arrangement, and United is out in public attempting to make a case one one hand that the AA/B6 relationship hampers competition, and that the FAA should either relax slot restrictions at JFK to enable it to better compete, or (impliedly) force a slot divestiture at JFK from which United could conceivably benefit.

It’s deliberately ambiguous because there is a particular narrative to push.

slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
Let’s be honest here. I don’t think united is doing well at JFK. In fact I’m sure they are not meeting their own expectations . They downgraded service from Polaris 767s to pretty tired much older 757 seats, zero Lounge access, not enough time options to really be useful for busy people. That premium frequent business traveler just isn’t out there in the same numbers as before Covid and United has by far the worst product on the route. Little reason to pick united , when the other airlines offer so much more on the route.

It is odd they chose such a close time, but they must be trying to get results or a change quickly? I’m not sure adding a few more flights is gonna save them. They need a lounge badly. Where they are at JFK in particular there is nothing at all to do in a delay, it’s a terrible place to get stuck.


Most (not all) of the 757s are pretty worn, but an interior refresh is underway. You actually underscore why the 757 is probably the right choice on the route for now… transcon business travel is still down and a premium-heavy 767 just isn’t the right mix of seats for the market at the moment. OTOH, the 757 is actually a capacity increase over the 76L (175/176 seats vs. 167) and major increase in Y (159/160 vs. 99). Same seat as AA, and those 32Ts are getting a little shabby now, too. United’s biggest problem at JFK is schedule.

Again, United Business pax have access to the Alaska Lounge in T7. I’d note that Mint seems to manage the lack of a lounge product rather effectively.

United isn’t going to cut and run at JFK because it’s losing money on the flights it operates right now. That’s definitively NOT the reason for this “leaked” memo. It’s a long-term play and United is going to do everything it can not only to stay at JFK, but also to exert political pressure to obtain additional slots.
Last edited by codc10 on Wed Sep 07, 2022 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
AAPramugari14
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 5:06 pm

flyfresno wrote:
BoeingG wrote:
EWR was a mistake. Too many conflicts with other area traffic. It should be leveled and JFK expanded into Jamaica Bay to form one mega airport (LGA can remain to serve domestic travel).


I'd almost say EWR should stay and LGA should go. If there was a PVG-type maglev train from JFK to Manhattan (or even just JFK-Atlantic Terminal or JFK-Long Island City), LGA's location would become significantly less advantageous.


It's clear neither of you are from the area. LGA is the preferred airport due to it's proximity to the city. The only disadvantage at LGA is that there is no direct train link. You either have to bus or cab it. EWR and JFK on the other hand are out of the way when it comes to easy access to the city. With the upgrades done at LGA it honestly is the best airport in the NYC area currently.
 
flyfresno
Posts: 1609
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 5:07 pm

2travel2know2 wrote:
One could guess that there’s still probably a demand for morning and evening flights - both ways, regional jets - between JFK and UA hubs IAD, IAH and ORD; and perhaps, also demand for a daily (or weekend/peak) JFK-DEN/LAX/SFO as long as the flights are timed to operate when there’s the most demand.
IMHO, Terminals 1 or 4, might be more suitable for UA, because the (noticeable) Star Alliance presence in both.


Pretty sure all of Star is leaving 4 once the expanded 1 opens and 4 is going all SkyTeam.
 
leader1
Posts: 421
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 5:26 pm

flyfresno wrote:
BoeingG wrote:
EWR was a mistake. Too many conflicts with other area traffic. It should be leveled and JFK expanded into Jamaica Bay to form one mega airport (LGA can remain to serve domestic travel).


I'd almost say EWR should stay and LGA should go. If there was a PVG-type maglev train from JFK to Manhattan (or even just JFK-Atlantic Terminal or JFK-Long Island City), LGA's location would become significantly less advantageous.


You do realize that EWR was built long before JFK and LGA were.
 
IADCA
Posts: 2721
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 5:42 pm

tlecam wrote:
IADCA wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
This is just a power play to get more slots due to the NEA soon going to litigation. imo.


It doesn't make a lot of sense except in this context. Facially, it's a ridiculous proposition for an airline that owns slots but leases them out to ask for the overall cap to be raised (and the increase awarded to them) simply because their own temporary arrangements that allow them to operate are ending. Any rational regulator would point out that if they lease their own slots out, they can get slots on the market - either by negotiating to cancel those leases or by finding someone else to lease them from.

What this does is put them front and center as a potential divestiture buyer in whatever comes out of the NEA litigation, especially if it's a negotiated settlement. It's not Exhibit A on the parties' pitch of United as a pro-competitive divesture buyer, but it's close.


It's unlikely that the ruling from the NEA case will be out by the end of October. Trial starts at end of September; once those proceedings are done, the judge's clerks will do research and help with writing the ruling. Commonly takes months for the rulings to come out.

That aside, I agree that the NEA case is a factor in UA's position.


Assuming they don't settle before going to trial at all and don't settle (or have the parties pull the plug for other reasons) mid-trial, which are the more usual outcomes in antitrust cases.
 
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tlecam
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 6:02 pm

IADCA wrote:
tlecam wrote:
IADCA wrote:

It doesn't make a lot of sense except in this context. Facially, it's a ridiculous proposition for an airline that owns slots but leases them out to ask for the overall cap to be raised (and the increase awarded to them) simply because their own temporary arrangements that allow them to operate are ending. Any rational regulator would point out that if they lease their own slots out, they can get slots on the market - either by negotiating to cancel those leases or by finding someone else to lease them from.

What this does is put them front and center as a potential divestiture buyer in whatever comes out of the NEA litigation, especially if it's a negotiated settlement. It's not Exhibit A on the parties' pitch of United as a pro-competitive divesture buyer, but it's close.


It's unlikely that the ruling from the NEA case will be out by the end of October. Trial starts at end of September; once those proceedings are done, the judge's clerks will do research and help with writing the ruling. Commonly takes months for the rulings to come out.

That aside, I agree that the NEA case is a factor in UA's position.


Assuming they don't settle before going to trial at all and don't settle (or have the parties pull the plug for other reasons) mid-trial, which are the more usual outcomes in antitrust cases.


100% - agree. I should have mentioned that.
 
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ramprat74
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Re: United Threatens to End JFK Airport Service Without More Flights

Wed Sep 07, 2022 6:10 pm

I hope they get kicked out of JFK. They cut their nose off to spite their face. Just another terrible decision by their former CEO back years ago.
 
SFOtoORD
Posts: 1354
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:26 am

Re: United Threatens to End JFK Airport Service Without More Flights

Wed Sep 07, 2022 6:10 pm

2 flights a day is not enough. I’d like to use them, but they lack the frequency for business travelers.

To the person who says EWR should not exist, they don’t understand the NYC catchment.
 
BoeingG
Posts: 176
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:01 pm

Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 6:18 pm

AAPramugari14 wrote:
flyfresno wrote:
BoeingG wrote:
EWR was a mistake. Too many conflicts with other area traffic. It should be leveled and JFK expanded into Jamaica Bay to form one mega airport (LGA can remain to serve domestic travel).


I'd almost say EWR should stay and LGA should go. If there was a PVG-type maglev train from JFK to Manhattan (or even just JFK-Atlantic Terminal or JFK-Long Island City), LGA's location would become significantly less advantageous.


It's clear neither of you are from the area. LGA is the preferred airport due to it's proximity to the city. The only disadvantage at LGA is that there is no direct train link. You either have to bus or cab it. EWR and JFK on the other hand are out of the way when it comes to easy access to the city. With the upgrades done at LGA it honestly is the best airport in the NYC area currently.


Presumptions are dangerous. New Yorker, born and raised. I agree with your assessment of LGA, hence why I advocated for it. That still leaves the issue of EWR and JFK.
 
BoeingG
Posts: 176
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:01 pm

Re: United Threatens to End JFK Airport Service Without More Flights

Wed Sep 07, 2022 6:22 pm

SFOtoORD wrote:
2 flights a day is not enough. I’d like to use them, but they lack the frequency for business travelers.

To the person who says EWR should not exist, they don’t understand the NYC catchment.


I do understand that terraforming (reclaimed land) isn't unheard of. Will it happen in our lifetime? No--the NIMBYs and treehuggers will sue if there's so much as a whiff of this.

Wait--unless you were referring to EWR? In which case, it will never be the preferred airport of New Yorkers--not without a suitable rapid connection to the boroughs. I wouldn't be caught there. United realized this, hence why it came back. Well! Now it wants to pull out again. Figures!
 
AAPramugari14
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:35 am

Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 6:30 pm

BoeingG wrote:
AAPramugari14 wrote:
flyfresno wrote:

I'd almost say EWR should stay and LGA should go. If there was a PVG-type maglev train from JFK to Manhattan (or even just JFK-Atlantic Terminal or JFK-Long Island City), LGA's location would become significantly less advantageous.


It's clear neither of you are from the area. LGA is the preferred airport due to it's proximity to the city. The only disadvantage at LGA is that there is no direct train link. You either have to bus or cab it. EWR and JFK on the other hand are out of the way when it comes to easy access to the city. With the upgrades done at LGA it honestly is the best airport in the NYC area currently.


Presumptions are dangerous. New Yorker, born and raised. I agree with your assessment of LGA, hence why I advocated for it. That still leaves the issue of EWR and JFK.


None of the airports should go. Each airport serves a different purpose and region. While they overlap in certain areas none could replace the other in any form. To add, LGA nor JFK could really be expanded beyond its current footprint significantly because of the protected wildlife zones around the airports. The key to success in the Tri-State area is to have the right mix of flights between all 3 airports. UA’s main issue was giving up their slots so easily way back when. They thought in the moment and weren’t forward thinking when it came to their long term goals.
 
EWRreppin
Posts: 13
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Re: United Threatens to End JFK Airport Service Without More Flights

Wed Sep 07, 2022 6:31 pm

I would agree, if United is upset about their poor performance at JFK then they really should look in the mirror about their own past decisions and actions.
As an earlier poster mentioned, they spent much efforts in marketing to funnel their loyal flyers to use EWR and not JFK then made an about-face but expect excellent revenue and growth on par with competitors when they finally came back to the airport they abandoned?

And Yes, it just seems ironic that UA is saying things now like "all in an effort to be more competitive at JFK" and "we will need to suspend service" per the UA memo, when I think about ALL the airlines that have been pushed out, door slammed on the way out, of Newark over YEARS by mega-dominant, couldn't care less about competition, United.

Boohoo. Feels like the expression, what goes around, comes around. :twocents:

And for those people who say get rid of...(insert EWR/JFK/LGA) don't get it.
One has to understand the geographical regions/populations they each serve. People using the airport aren't only foreigners visiting NYC for vacation. People are not going to travel a long way just to get to the airport if they don't have to! There are airlines that serve all 3, and international carriers that serve both the larger 2, for a reason.
 
cledaybuck
Posts: 2116
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Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 6:36 pm

AAPramugari14 wrote:
flyfresno wrote:
BoeingG wrote:
EWR was a mistake. Too many conflicts with other area traffic. It should be leveled and JFK expanded into Jamaica Bay to form one mega airport (LGA can remain to serve domestic travel).


I'd almost say EWR should stay and LGA should go. If there was a PVG-type maglev train from JFK to Manhattan (or even just JFK-Atlantic Terminal or JFK-Long Island City), LGA's location would become significantly less advantageous.


It's clear neither of you are from the area. LGA is the preferred airport due to it's proximity to the city. The only disadvantage at LGA is that there is no direct train link. You either have to bus or cab it. EWR and JFK on the other hand are out of the way when it comes to easy access to the city. With the upgrades done at LGA it honestly is the best airport in the NYC area currently.

This whole discussion is based on some alternate reality. None of these airports are going anywhere.
 
EWRreppin
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:41 am

Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 6:45 pm

leader1 wrote:
flyfresno wrote:
BoeingG wrote:
EWR was a mistake. Too many conflicts with other area traffic. It should be leveled and JFK expanded into Jamaica Bay to form one mega airport (LGA can remain to serve domestic travel).


I'd almost say EWR should stay and LGA should go. If there was a PVG-type maglev train from JFK to Manhattan (or even just JFK-Atlantic Terminal or JFK-Long Island City), LGA's location would become significantly less advantageous.


You do realize that EWR was built long before JFK and LGA were.


Most people don't know this. In fact, most people sadly, say the most uninformed things about Newark and JFK without context of knowing any history.
 
BoeingG
Posts: 176
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:01 pm

Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 6:55 pm

leader1 wrote:
flyfresno wrote:
BoeingG wrote:
EWR was a mistake. Too many conflicts with other area traffic. It should be leveled and JFK expanded into Jamaica Bay to form one mega airport (LGA can remain to serve domestic travel).


I'd almost say EWR should stay and LGA should go. If there was a PVG-type maglev train from JFK to Manhattan (or even just JFK-Atlantic Terminal or JFK-Long Island City), LGA's location would become significantly less advantageous.


You do realize that EWR was built long before JFK and LGA were.


It's served its purpose.
 
TYWoolman
Posts: 1387
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:24 pm

Re: United Threatens to End JFK Airport Service Without More Flights

Wed Sep 07, 2022 7:07 pm

The question is...what does United have that Delta wants in exchange for the JFK slots to revert back to United.
 
SFOtoORD
Posts: 1354
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:26 am

Re: United Threatens to End JFK Airport Service Without More Flights

Wed Sep 07, 2022 7:15 pm

BoeingG wrote:
SFOtoORD wrote:
2 flights a day is not enough. I’d like to use them, but they lack the frequency for business travelers.

To the person who says EWR should not exist, they don’t understand the NYC catchment.


I do understand that terraforming (reclaimed land) isn't unheard of. Will it happen in our lifetime? No--the NIMBYs and treehuggers will sue if there's so much as a whiff of this.

Wait--unless you were referring to EWR? In which case, it will never be the preferred airport of New Yorkers--not without a suitable rapid connection to the boroughs. I wouldn't be caught there. United realized this, hence why it came back. Well! Now it wants to pull out again. Figures!


That’s not my point. NYC metro needs JFK and EWR. Eliminating EWR and just having JFK just creates a new set of problems for the humans and companies in the metro area.
 
ScottB
Posts: 7917
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

Re: United Threatens to End JFK Airport Service Without More Flights

Wed Sep 07, 2022 7:43 pm

flyfresno wrote:
I'd almost say EWR should stay and LGA should go. If there was a PVG-type maglev train from JFK to Manhattan (or even just JFK-Atlantic Terminal or JFK-Long Island City), LGA's location would become significantly less advantageous.


Eh, a high-speed train to JFK doesn't really make it more attractive to LGA, because you still have to make your way to where the train stops in Manhattan and then (likely) change trains at JFK to access your terminal. From Manhattan, your cab/rideshare goes crosstown to the FDR, over the Triboro, and a couple of miles on the Grand Central Parkway/-ing lot. Usually it's a reasonably quick ride. And, of course, that ignores the fact that the cost of a high-speed/maglev train to JFK would be measured in the tens of billions of dollars.

codc10 wrote:
This isn’t about full disclosure, or providing the “whole story”, though. It’s because the DOJ is suing AA/B6 for what it claims is an anticompetitive business arrangement, and United is out in public attempting to make a case one one hand that the AA/B6 relationship hampers competition, and that the FAA should either relax slot restrictions at JFK to enable it to better compete, or (impliedly) force a slot divestiture at JFK from which United could conceivably benefit.


I get that, but this narrative is arguably worse. It's more potent to argue that they're leaving because they're losing their temporary slots -- and that they'd stay (and keep up the competition) if they were granted permanent slots. There's also an argument to be made that two of the top three carriers on JFK-LAX/SFO -- historically the most important domestic routes by revenue -- shouldn't be permitted to code share or offer loyalty program reciprocity.
 
flybry
Posts: 171
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:26 am

Re: United Threatens to End JFK Airport Service Without More Flights

Wed Sep 07, 2022 7:58 pm

When will Delta’s lease of United’s slots expire at JFK? Won’t United get a bunch of JFK slots back when the lease expires for Delta using them?
 
dfwfanboy
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2015 4:41 pm

Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 7:58 pm

codc10 wrote:
United isn’t going to cut and run at JFK because it’s losing money on the flights it operates right now. That’s definitively NOT the reason for this “leaked” memo. It’s a long-term play and United is going to do everything it can not only to stay at JFK, but also to exert political pressure to obtain additional slots.

Weird, because that's pretty much what they're doing. They started at JFK with a heavy J product that requires a yield premium during a huge lull in business traffic using temporary slots for free, never (it seems) bothered to buy the slots they needed to stay at JFK over two years, and now seem shocked that their business plan of getting free JFK slots may not be a real strategy?

If United truly wants to stay at JFK so bad, why didn't they buy slots over the course of the last two years when most non-subsidized airlines desperately needed cash? They certainly seemed to have the cash to invest in random fun projects like Boom, VTOL, etc

The memo seems to say exactly that this is about losing money since they seem unwilling to buy slots but demand they get some for free otherwise they're leaving.
 
User avatar
RyanairGuru
Posts: 9348
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:59 am

Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 8:23 pm

BoeingG wrote:
leader1 wrote:
flyfresno wrote:

I'd almost say EWR should stay and LGA should go. If there was a PVG-type maglev train from JFK to Manhattan (or even just JFK-Atlantic Terminal or JFK-Long Island City), LGA's location would become significantly less advantageous.


You do realize that EWR was built long before JFK and LGA were.


It's served its purpose.


Oddly enough, there is a world on the other side of the Hudson. If EWR did not exist then PHL would be the preferred choice over JFK for large parts of New Jersey.
 
SFOtoORD
Posts: 1354
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:26 am

Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 8:24 pm

dfwfanboy wrote:
codc10 wrote:
United isn’t going to cut and run at JFK because it’s losing money on the flights it operates right now. That’s definitively NOT the reason for this “leaked” memo. It’s a long-term play and United is going to do everything it can not only to stay at JFK, but also to exert political pressure to obtain additional slots.

Weird, because that's pretty much what they're doing. They started at JFK with a heavy J product that requires a yield premium during a huge lull in business traffic using temporary slots for free, never (it seems) bothered to buy the slots they needed to stay at JFK over two years, and now seem shocked that their business plan of getting free JFK slots may not be a real strategy?

If United truly wants to stay at JFK so bad, why didn't they buy slots over the course of the last two years when most non-subsidized airlines desperately needed cash? They certainly seemed to have the cash to invest in random fun projects like Boom, VTOL, etc

The memo seems to say exactly that this is about losing money since they seem unwilling to buy slots but demand they get some for free otherwise they're leaving.


Boom and VTOL have nothing to do with it. They are totally posturing for free slots and who wouldn’t do that if it had a chance of working? Delta was a squatter at Love Field for years and it ended up working for them. Don’t hate the player.
 
codc10
Posts: 3575
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2000 7:18 am

Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 8:48 pm

ScottB wrote:
I get that, but this narrative is arguably worse. It's more potent to argue that they're leaving because they're losing their temporary slots -- and that they'd stay (and keep up the competition) if they were granted permanent slots. There's also an argument to be made that two of the top three carriers on JFK-LAX/SFO -- historically the most important domestic routes by revenue -- shouldn't be permitted to code share or offer loyalty program reciprocity.


I'd argue that setting forth the real reason that United would be forced to leave JFK (expiration of slot exemption and no permanent slots) effective 10/29 would undercut the narrative United is trying to advance, to wit, "we can't compete with uncompetitive AA+B6 NEA on the transcons unless we obtain more slots, and by the way we can't acquire any more slots conventionally so we will have to suspend service in October (cough... cough... divestitures... cough...)"

dfwfanboy wrote:
codc10 wrote:
United isn’t going to cut and run at JFK because it’s losing money on the flights it operates right now. That’s definitively NOT the reason for this “leaked” memo. It’s a long-term play and United is going to do everything it can not only to stay at JFK, but also to exert political pressure to obtain additional slots.

Weird, because that's pretty much what they're doing. They started at JFK with a heavy J product that requires a yield premium during a huge lull in business traffic using temporary slots for free, never (it seems) bothered to buy the slots they needed to stay at JFK over two years, and now seem shocked that their business plan of getting free JFK slots may not be a real strategy?

If United truly wants to stay at JFK so bad, why didn't they buy slots over the course of the last two years when most non-subsidized airlines desperately needed cash? They certainly seemed to have the cash to invest in random fun projects like Boom, VTOL, etc

The memo seems to say exactly that this is about losing money since they seem unwilling to buy slots but demand they get some for free otherwise they're leaving.


The 76Ls went on the route early on to make a splash, but were never going to be there long-term so long as Europe rebounded, which it did, and they were deployed back on EU routes for which the configuration was intended. It makes clear the fact that United wasn't concerned about making money in 2021, or 2022, but that it was far more important to establish a competitive foothold to build back into the market. At the time, many more 757s than 767s were in storage, too.

You note that "it seems" United "never bothered to by the slots they needed to stay at JFK". Where, exactly, would those slots have come from? Which airlines had an incentive to sell valuable JFK slots during a period when slot exemptions meant there was no obligation to use them? Especially when it was easy for airlines raise money without resorting to liquidating assets. Sort of like student loans during the pandemic... loans weren't accruing interest, and borrowers didn't have to pay, so there was no reason to refinance, or pay them off early. With that said, as slot exemptions expire, some airlines may be motivated to sell or lease JFK slots, and United would no doubt be a willing participant.

JFK slots aren't freely or readily available. If United could source them at a reasonable, market price (not something ridiculously inflated like "eleventy billion dollars" from a party not otherwise interested in selling) then they likely would have already. Absent that, arguing in favor of, and jockeying for the fruits of some regulatory divestiture would be an advisable approach. Sometimes, more sophisticated concepts can get lost in what would otherwise appear to be "plain English."
 
dfwfanboy
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2015 4:41 pm

Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 9:00 pm

SFOtoORD wrote:
dfwfanboy wrote:
codc10 wrote:
United isn’t going to cut and run at JFK because it’s losing money on the flights it operates right now. That’s definitively NOT the reason for this “leaked” memo. It’s a long-term play and United is going to do everything it can not only to stay at JFK, but also to exert political pressure to obtain additional slots.

Weird, because that's pretty much what they're doing. They started at JFK with a heavy J product that requires a yield premium during a huge lull in business traffic using temporary slots for free, never (it seems) bothered to buy the slots they needed to stay at JFK over two years, and now seem shocked that their business plan of getting free JFK slots may not be a real strategy?

If United truly wants to stay at JFK so bad, why didn't they buy slots over the course of the last two years when most non-subsidized airlines desperately needed cash? They certainly seemed to have the cash to invest in random fun projects like Boom, VTOL, etc

The memo seems to say exactly that this is about losing money since they seem unwilling to buy slots but demand they get some for free otherwise they're leaving.


Boom and VTOL have nothing to do with it. They are totally posturing for free slots and who wouldn’t do that if it had a chance of working? Delta was a squatter at Love Field for years and it ended up working for them. Don’t hate the player.

Boom and VTOL were just examples of United having cash to buy slots. You're absolutely right that they have plenty of cash besides their investment money.

Delta was fighting eviction from Love Field due to lack of gates. United is choosing to leave JFK since the FAA doesn't want to give them incremental free slots. There doesn't seem to be anything about eviction in the United memo -- "Unfortunately, we have not been successful in gaining additional permanent slots.". It's just that the FAA won't give them new incremental free slots above what they currently got for free.
But, I don't disagree about your overall point, if you can get them for free, why pay? But UA put themselves in a weird place saying they'll leave if they don't get free slots, it's not like they're getting kicked out of JFK.
 
codc10
Posts: 3575
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2000 7:18 am

Re: United Considering Leaving JFK Again

Wed Sep 07, 2022 10:33 pm

dfwfanboy wrote:
SFOtoORD wrote:
dfwfanboy wrote:
Weird, because that's pretty much what they're doing. They started at JFK with a heavy J product that requires a yield premium during a huge lull in business traffic using temporary slots for free, never (it seems) bothered to buy the slots they needed to stay at JFK over two years, and now seem shocked that their business plan of getting free JFK slots may not be a real strategy?

If United truly wants to stay at JFK so bad, why didn't they buy slots over the course of the last two years when most non-subsidized airlines desperately needed cash? They certainly seemed to have the cash to invest in random fun projects like Boom, VTOL, etc

The memo seems to say exactly that this is about losing money since they seem unwilling to buy slots but demand they get some for free otherwise they're leaving.


Boom and VTOL have nothing to do with it. They are totally posturing for free slots and who wouldn’t do that if it had a chance of working? Delta was a squatter at Love Field for years and it ended up working for them. Don’t hate the player.

Boom and VTOL were just examples of United having cash to buy slots. You're absolutely right that they have plenty of cash besides their investment money.

Delta was fighting eviction from Love Field due to lack of gates. United is choosing to leave JFK since the FAA doesn't want to give them incremental free slots. There doesn't seem to be anything about eviction in the United memo -- "Unfortunately, we have not been successful in gaining additional permanent slots.". It's just that the FAA won't give them new incremental free slots above what they currently got for free.
But, I don't disagree about your overall point, if you can get them for free, why pay? But UA put themselves in a weird place saying they'll leave if they don't get free slots, it's not like they're getting kicked out of JFK.


You’re completely missing the point.

United has the cash to buy slots. They would buy slots if anyone was selling. To date, nobody has been selling. That might change soon, but in the meantime it makes perfect sense for United to make this argument.

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