United Says Their Newark Operation Is Going To Become A Disaster

A read out from an employee meeting at United details the headaches the airline is going to face at Newark over the next few months, and what that means from passengers. They’ve also detailed how they’re using the crisis to get the government to limit competition from other airlines in the Newark market.

  • Newark “basically…now only has 1 usable runway for departures and arrivals” while work is being done there.

  • The FAA has requested carriers limit their flying from Newark as a result. United – which has heretofore been reticent to add back New York flying given the area’s late opening and slow return to work – has “adhered to the FAA’s request to not exceed [240] flights.”

  • However JetBlue, which is much smaller than United at Newark, is not limiting its flying.

  • So United is asking the federal government to cap JetBlue’s flights at the airport.

  • United will also be “proactively canceling flights out of EWR at least 24 hours in advance during construction and rerouting those customers through other hubs” and this will accelerate in the event of any bad weather forecast.

United Airlines Newark Terminal C

It may be wise to avoid Newark connections this summer, and for New York-based flyers to prefer other airports.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What is the underlying issue at Newark? Is the other runways being reconstructed?

  2. Too bad rerouting through other hubs is not a permanent change. The only allure EWR has is that it’s in the NYC metro area. Otherwise that dump would have been dehubbed faster than Delta got outta Memphis when Northwest Delta merger took place.

  3. Keep in mind that EWR was slot-controlled up until about 5 years ago; the FAA pulled slot controls and moved to schedule coordination because UA was consistently underutilizing its slots.
    United has been by far the slowest US airline to return capacity but has provided enormous openings for low cost carriers to grow in their hubs. EWR has long been the highest revenue local market airport for a single carrier but that designation might fall as B6 aggressively grows and will certainly depress fares.
    B6 is so determined to develop a major position at EWR while trying to retain some relevance in their pre-covid hubs/focus cities that they are pushing their operation this summer beyond the breaking point and their on-time performance could well be the worst any US airline has recorded on a consistent basis.
    EWR had an advantage in not being in NY state during covid lockdowns but it is now becoming a huge operational disaster that won’t get fixed even when the 2nd main runway returns to service because of B6′ aggressive growth and their complete disregard for any operational integrity which will negatively impact every carrier at EWR but obviously UA the most.

  4. I flew EWR-AUS on Tuesday, and we were delayed about two hours due to traffic congestion resulting from a single runway operating.

    The inter-terminal transfer busses weren’t running and connecting pax were directed to the landside AirTrain. The standard security screening line snaked through the entire checking area in Terminal C and certainly couldn’t have taken less than 45 minutes to pass. EWR seems like an absolute disaster for connecting pax, and a major inconvenience for O/D pax.

  5. EWR- a monument to union work rules and bureaucratic ineptness. I fly United internationally and avoid EWR at all costs, even if I have to switch to another airline.

  6. United should expand the # of flights to LGA and JFK and reduce the # of flights to sEWeR.

  7. DC not in DC,
    LGA and JFK are still slot controlled. United’s previous management team pulled out of JFK and UA is back w/ a skeleton schedule on just a couple markets on a temporary basis hoping that they can stay long-term. United has long been much smaller at LGA than other carriers and are smaller than Southwest there even though Southwest much more recently added LGA to its network.
    United’s NYC presence reflects Continental’s focus on Newark; many have doubted Delta can achieve as much by having hubs at both LGA and JFK but neither airport struggles as much with delays as EWR does, again, likely because the NY airports are still slot-controlled – which is part of why JetBlue wants to grow in Newark since they can’t at JFK or LGA – other than slots they can get American to lease slots to B6.

  8. Port authority controls the repairs on the runways at EWR but since they are not bright either they are doing the work now and taking their sweet time instead of going it last year or early this year. United management team in EWR do not have the skills to manage an airline correctly.

  9. Newark is the worst hub anywhere (next to Dullas). UA continues to be a mess and that will not change regardless of how many planes Kirby buys. They change strategis on the hour and can’t stick with one long enough to see if it will . AA is well rid of him and UA will continue to flouder with him. Newark is just another problem they can’t figure out how to fix.

  10. United would do well to shift many of its long-haul international flights from EWR to IAD during the runway construction. But I guess that would be playing into JetBlue’s hands,.

  11. I go out of my way to fly from Dulles than have anything to do with Newark. There is always some issue with Newark that makes flying through there a nightmare.

  12. EWR truly is the worst airport in the US. And that’s from plenty of person experience. Clear is just about the only improvement there.

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