United eyes return to JFK next year after a more than 5-year absence

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A United Airlines Boeing 737-800 and United Airlines A320 Airbus on seen approach to San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco.

Louis Nastro | Reuters

United Airlines is planning to resume service at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2021,  possibly early in the year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The early plans are a bet that the pandemic’s lull in air travel could help United end its five-year absence from what is normally one of the country’s most congested airports. Service could start early next year but a firm timeline hasn’t been finalized. It isn’t yet clear whether regulators will grant United space at the tightly controlled airport.

United’s service in the New York area is concentrated at its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport, where it dominates flights.

Scott Kirby, who became CEO in May, in 2017 said leaving JFK in 2015 was a mistake and has since expressed interest in returning to the airport, which is has been a key airport for carriers like Delta Air Lines and American Airlines and their international partners.

United declined to comment. 

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