HI INDIA NEWS DESK
NEWARK, NJ- United Airlines will slash 50 domestic departures a day from its schedule at Newark Liberty International Airport starting next month in an attempt to minimize delays caused by caused by a combination of airport construction and a shortage of air traffic controllers.
While United says it has enough pilots, crews and support staff, “ongoing congestion challenges” led it to ask for and receive a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration that allows the carrier to trim its schedule for the rest of the summer, according to a memo to employees from Chief Operating Officer Jon Roitman.
“This schedule action will help minimize excessive delays and improve on-time performance – not only for our customers, but for everyone flying through Newark,” United Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott said Thursday.
Construction at Terminal A has left United with six fewer gates and several holding spaces and taxiways have also been reduced or eliminated, the FAA said. To make matters worse, construction on a runway at Newark Liberty will shut it down for “a number of days,” the FAA added.
“The FAA recognizes that the reduced number of available gates in Terminal A and the anticipated runway construction project at EWR present a continuous, unusual set of circumstances beyond the control of any carrier,” the FAA said in a letter to United Airlines.
United’s waiver expires at the end of the summer 2022 scheduling season (Oct. 29) or when construction concludes — whichever comes first. Since Newark Liberty is a scheduled-coordinated airport due to demand and capacity constraints, airlines generally have to use their approved time slots to keep them for the next season.
“Travel demand in Newark has never been stronger and we will continue to partner with the FAA and Port Authority so we can reinstate these 50 daily departures and revert to a full schedule from Newark as soon as possible,” Roitman wrote in the memo. “In the interim, all carriers – not just United – need to continue to work with the FAA to mitigate Newark congestion.”
Separately, Roitman said customers can expect fares to remain high due to the high cost of fuel. United Airlines is spending about $1 billion more a month on fuel than it did in 2019, the COO told Bloomberg.