In a temporary move, but one described by the airline as “significant,” United Airlines said it is reducing its schedules at two area airports.
Newark Internal Airport will see its daily flights drop from 139 to 15, and its number of destinations from 62 to nine. The decrease in activity, a response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has stricken the nation, will also see the airline cut back on the number of employees reporting to work at EWR and LaGuardia Airport, the other affected outpost, United said.
The changes were effective April 5 and will last for at least the next three weeks.
According to the airline, whether employees are actively working or not, the company will continue to pay wages and benefits for all its local employees for the duration of the reductions.
In a letter to EWR and LGA employees, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Greg Hart acknowledged the pivotal role the company plays as an airline, and specifically so in the tri-state area.
“[W]e are mindful that United Airlines continues to provide an essential service during these challenging times. The airspace at Newark and LaGuardia is among the busiest in the world and we have an ongoing responsibility to get people and goods where they need to be,” he wrote, continuing that customers will still have travel options to nearly all United’s domestic markets and its three international destinations: Frankfurt Airport in Germany, Heathrow Airport in London and Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.
From Newark, United will continue travel to its six hubs: Dulles International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Denver International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Beyond moving customers, the limited schedule will also still allow for the delivery of medical supplies and the transport of supplementary medical professionals to the heavy-hit New Jersey and New York area.
Hart wrote that United is working with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, in addition to local medical volunteer organizations like The Society of Critical Care Medicine, to coordinate free travel for medical professionals, doctors and nurses.
According to Hart, United will continue to monitor the situation across the county and its network to evaluate potential “mitigation measures” it can take in those locales, too.
A recap of additional measures the airline has taken in response to COVID-19, including handling changes to your travel plans, is available here.
At LaGuardia the flight schedule will dip from 18 to two with destinations down from four to one.
Editor’s note: This article was updated at 9:28 a.m. EST on April, 6 2020 to include additional information from United Airlines about its persistent destinations during COVID-19 scale-backs in service.