United Airlines is warning that runway construction plus a failure of JetBlue to cap flights is hurting operations at Newark Liberty International Airport and already leading to delays and cancellations.
United Warns Of Delays + Cancellations At Newark Airport
United Airlines held an employee town hall on Wednesday in which a number of issues were discussed, touching upon:
- Delayed regulatory approval for United’s new Washington Dulles – Lagos route
- The return of the Boeing 777s with Pratt & Whitney engines into service (hopefully soon)
- Encouraging employees once again to be kind to customers, reminding them that all the investments in the world cannot counteract a rude exchange that leaves a nasty impression
But perhaps most timely was a discussion on Newark Airport (EWR), where a perfect storm is brewing that will severely compromise operational performance.
- Construction is underway at EWR and the airport “basically…now only has one usable runway for departures and arrivals.”
- In order to reduce bottlenecks, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has “requested” that carriers limit their flying from Newark
- While United has limited its schedule (the FAA asked United not to exceed 240 daily flights and it has not), JetBlue has not not followed the FAA’s request
- United is now asking the FAA to change its guidance from a request to an order so that JetBlue also must cap flights (JetBlue was not mentioned by name at the meeting)
- Even with the flight caps, United is still being squeezed and will be “proactively canceling flights out of EWR at least 24 hours in advance during construction and rerouting those customers through other hubs”
The bottom line is this: avoid connecting in Newark if you can this summer. Sometimes it is unavoidable, but better if you can connect in Washington Dulles (where United is bolstering flights) or another United hub. While a lot of cushion is already worked into the schedule, these construction delays, even with good weather, will likely continue to get worse.
United has admitted it is experiencing an operational headache in Newark right now with no end in sight. Keep a close watch on your schedules as flights cancellations will generally occur a day or two in advance.
(H/T: View from the Wing)