Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Air Canada dropping New York JFK from its route map

Air Canada will end service to New York JFK this April. The airline’s last flights from the airport will be April 3.

Air Canada currently flies to New York JFK from its hub at Toronto Pearson, offering two daily Air Canada Express flights between the cities.

Air Canada’s decision to exit JFK was first reported by the aptly named Airline Route blog. Air Canada spokesman John Reber confirmed the news to Today in the Sky on Monday.

Air Canada says its exit from JFK will allow it to focus on its existing service to the New York City area's two other major airports: LaGuardia and Newark Liberty.

“As JFK offers limited options for convenient arrival and departure times due to slot constraints, we have elected to re-focus on our main New York City-area operations at LaGuardia and Newark,” Reber says in a statement to Today in the Sky.

“As a result, we will be increasing capacity by adding daily round-trips to Newark from Toronto and Montreal and operating larger Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft to LaGuardia.”

With the changes, Reber says Air Canada plans to operate “a combined total of more than 240 roundtrip flights per week between the two airports and our Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver hubs.”

New York LaGuardia is popular among business travelers for its proximity to Manhattan. Newark is a major hub for United, one of Air Canada's closest partners and a fellow member of the Star Alliance frequent-flier group.

Of course, Air Canada becomes the second big Star Alliance carrier to exit New York JFK in the past year.

United abandoned JFK in October, shifting its JFK flights to Newark as part of a broader slot swap with Delta Air Lines. The slot exchange – which the Justice Department has since tried to block via a lawsuit – allowed each carrier to consolidate New York-area flights at its own hub. New York JFK is a major hub for Delta.

Both United and Delta also serve New York’s LaGuardia airport. Delta still flies from Newark, though the slot swap reduced its presence there.

There’s no concrete timeline as to when a decision might be reached regarding the Justice Department’s suit.

(Ben Mutzabaugh - USA Today / Today in the Sky)

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