Wed, 29 Sep 2021

WASHINGTON D.C.: United Airlines is asking the federal government to reduce congestion at Newark Liberty International Airport, even as runway repairs slow takeoffs and landings.

In a letter, United Chief Executive Scott Kirby asked Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson "to temporarily and proportionally reduce the number of operations per hour at Newark, while airport capacity is constrained by runway construction."

Newark, the 15th busiest U.S. airport in 2020 based upon total passengers, is suffering from lengthy flight delays, long taxi lines and flight cancellations.

United, which has a hub at Newark, is responsible for nearly 65 percent of the airport's air traffic.

Kirby noted that during a six-day period in July "the average number of (Newark) flight cancellations by all airlines was more than 100 flights per day" which placed a "severe strain on employees and operations."

Kirby also asked the FAA to "bring together all relevant parties to reduce the number of flights per hour temporarily and proportionally during July, August, and September."

But, Kirby added, "it is well established that Newark has consistently been the worst-performing airport in the country from an air traffic perspective over the past few years."

He added, "During the 15-year period from 2005 to 2019, Newark was the most delayed core airport in the system for 10 of those years."

United officials said they have had to cancel some 70 of its 240 scheduled flights per day at Newark since runway construction began.

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