United announced today that they will be ending service to New York’s Westchester County Airport/HPN.
Their spokesperson shares with DansDeals that,
“Since we have a limited number of regional jets and pilots to fly them, we regularly evaluate how best to use those resources to provide convenient service to smaller airports across the country. Based on this analysis, we have decided to suspend service between White Plains and Chicago starting 7/1. We’ve already begun proactively contacting our customers to offer them alternative flights to Chicago from LGA, EWR and other nearby airports.”
United currently flies 3 times daily between Westchester County and Chicago. That route will only be flown by American starting 7/1.
While many passengers prefer flying from Westchester County, the airport makes it extremely difficult for airlines to operate from. There is a complicated quarterly lottery system that limits the total number of departing and arriving passengers at the airport to just 240 per half hour.
That effectively means airlines must operate smaller regional jet service from the airport, however since COVID, regional carriers have struggled to find pilots to operate their flights, leading to major cutbacks in airports with regional service. United has now pulled out of 39 airports with regional air service since COVID began.
Breeze Airways seemed like a good fit for Westchester thanks to flying smaller A220 planes, but they cut all 3 of their transcontinental routes from the airport, citing problems with the slot restrictions, crewing requirements due to slot restrictions, and frequent delays. That left the airport with no transcontinental service.
With United now pulling out and other regional airlines struggling, do you think that the airport will modernize their draconian slot lottery system?
HT: Zach Griff