Whether or not ‘Newark airport’ is really New York has been a top of some controversy since 1934, when New York City’s mayor Fiorello La Guardia pulled a stunt refusing to get off of a TWA flight from Chicago at Newark airport because his ticket said his destination was New York. He demanded to be flown to New York. The end result was LaGuardia airport.
- At LaGuardia’s urging American Airlines tried operating flights to Floyd Bennett Field in Southeast Brooklyn, but it was farther from Manhattan than Newark. La Guardia offered police escorts (!) to airport car services to try to make the service work.
- Ultimately the new Queens–Midtown Tunnel made expanding North Beach Airport a better option. The entire project was completed in just two years.
In some sense the question of whether Newark is a New York airport has been settled this month by IATA, the International Air Transport Association, which now treats the “NYC” code for airports as meaning New York JFK or LaGuardia – and no longer JFK, LaGuardia and Newark. Newark is no longer a New York “co-terminal.”
That’s really about airfares – fares are now filed separately for travel to and from “New York” and travel to and from “Newark.” So what does this change? For the most part… very little, except you may see airlines serving both New York JFK and Newark with fares that are different between the airports, since they’re now more distinct markets. American Airlines has an internal explainer for its employees:
United Airlines has re-started their ad campaign on New York City taxis highlighting the time it takes to get to Newark versus JFK airport from a given spot in Manhattan. From parts of the city it is a faster transfer!
At the end of the day Newark is unquestionably a New York City airport if you’re literal about Staten Island being part of New York City, but what United Airlines learned when it pulled out of New York JFK was that it lost corporate accounts on the West Coast because those companies didn’t want to fly to Newark.