A United Airlines passenger plane lands at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey on January 19, 2022.
Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
United Airlines will cut about 50 daily flights from Newark Liberty International Airport next month in a bid to reduce delays that have disrupted travelers’ plans this year.
The discounts represent about 12% of United’s schedule at its New Jersey hub and apply only to domestic flights, starting July 1.
United executives said the delays were the result of capacity constraints, airport construction and air traffic control – not a lack of airline staff.
The U.S. airline industry overall has struggled with a higher rate of flight cancellations and delays this year compared to 2019. Routine issues like thunderstorms have caused significant delays for travelers, and Staff shortages at some airlines have hampered an increase in air travel this year. Airlines have also cut flights and destinations, citing a shortage of pilots.
Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg last week urged airline CEOs to be careful not to repeat a recent string of disruptions over the July 4 holiday and the rest of the summer.
“After the past few weeks of erratic operations at Newark, caused by many factors including airport construction, we contacted the FAA and received a waiver allowing us to temporarily adjust our schedule there for the remainder of summer,” Jon Roitman, United’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, told staff in a memo Thursday.
United said it is not currently ending service to any city, but will reduce the number of flights it operates to certain markets.
“While we have the planes, pilots, crews and personnel to support our Newark schedule, this waiver will allow us to cut approximately 50 daily departures, which should help minimize excessive delays and improve on-time performance – no only for our customers, but for everyone who passes through Newark,” he wrote.
From the start of the year to mid-June, 31% of flights in Newark were delayed, the second-worst rate in the country behind Chicago Midway, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.
Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines are among the carriers that have also cut their schedules this year.