United cuts flights at Newark, NJ airport as cancellations mount
NEWARK — United Airlines will cut about 50 flights a day out of Newark Libert International Airport to reduce long delays that the airline blames on airport construction and other issues.
The cuts – about 12% of United flights in Newark – will start July 1 and last the rest of the summer. United is the dominant airline at Newark, which is just across the Hudson River from New York City and gets heavy use from people living in and around the city.
United’s chief operations officer, Jon Roitman, told employees that the airline has enough planes, pilots and other workers to run its Newark schedule, but cutting flights “should help minimize excessive delays and improve on-time performance.”
Only domestic flights will be reduced, a United spokeswoman said Thursday, adding that United will not drop any destinations from Newark. The airline got a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to reduce flights, she said.
Newark is among the nation’s busiest airports and often has the highest number of flight delays. United CEO Scott Kirby has accused other airlines — Spirit and JetBlue in particular — of operating more flights than allowed under federal rules, and said FAA has “just let people brazenly break the rules.”
United’s cuts at Newark arrive as airline industry faces more scrutiny over widespread delays and cancellations this summer. Bad weather and staffing shortages contributed to problems over both the Memorial Day and Juneteenth holiday weekends.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg held a virtual meeting with airline leaders last week and later threatened to sanction airlines if they fail to meet consumer-protection standards.
Several airlines have trimmed summer schedules in an effort to improve the reliability of the remaining flights.