In 2015, United sold its 26 New York Kennedy (JFK) slots to Delta. Three years later, it wants them back.
Last year, I wrote about United President Scott Kirby conceding it was a mistake for United to abandon New York. To sum up his thoughts, it was penny-wise, pound-foolish. While United’s transcon flights were losing money, United failed to anticipate the ripple effect it would have across other lucrative routes. Several corporate contracts that used United for international flights from the West Coast were lost as well.
> Read More: United Airlines Regrets Leaving New York JFK
Up until now, Kirby has said it was a mistake but United had no desire to resume flying at JFK. To United’s credit, it still holds a plurality on New York market share (if you count Newark, which I certainly do) and is profitable.
But Kirby told a trade conference this week that United wants back into New York JFK.
And I want to fly the Concorde…
Of course, United cannot undo the deal with Delta and Kirby “doesn’t see a feasible organic solution to getting back in there.”
Feasible is the key word. There is always a way, always a price. But like the hot housing market right now, United is going to have to pay a very high premium…and that is unlikely to be worthwhile at this stage.
In the meantime, United is still placing ads like the one above all over New York City.
Three years later, the loss of JFK remains a divisive point of contention for employees and a huge missed opportunity for United. While United may one day find a way back into JFK, it for now should focus on not making any further strategic slot blunders.
I covered United’s emotional departure from JFK over several installments in 2015 here:
- United Airlines Leaves JFK, Moves p.s. to Newark
- United JFK Employees Say Goodbye to Home, Hello to Uncertainty
- Onboard Video from the Final United p.s. Flight from JFK
- A Review of My First and Last United p.s. Flights from JFK
- Saying Goodbye to United Airlines at JFK
- United Airlines First Class San Francisco to New York JFK