Southwest Airlines Is Ending All Flights From Newark Liberty
Southwest Airlines will pull out of Newark this fall, ending all flights at the New York City-area airport in November.
Southwest tied the decision to the ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX. Citing “extensive delays in returning the MAX to service,” the carrier said it now expects to shrink overall seat capacity in 2019 – a sharp reversal from Southwest's previous projection of 5% year-over-year growth.
“As such, we are taking necessary steps to mitigate damages and optimize our aircraft and resources,” Southwest said Thursday in a statement announcing its second-quarter earnings results. “We will cease operations at Newark Liberty International Airport and consolidate our New York City presence at New York LaGuardia Airport, effective Nov. 3, 2019.”
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Also on Thursday, Southwest said it would now take the MAX out of its flight schedules through Jan. 5; previously, Southwest had the MAX returning to its schedules on Nov. 2. Southwest has 34 MAXes in its fleet, the most of any carrier.
As for Newark, the low-cost giant said that its operation there did not meet the company’s financial expectations. The airline said employees there would be given an option to relocate to Southwest’s LaGuardia station or to others in its system.
Customers booked on Newark flights beyond Nov. 3 will be offered refunds or Southwest will attempt to accommodate them on other flights. Aside from LaGuardia, Southwest also flies from Long Island’s MacArthur Airport in Islip, New York – which is about 50 miles east of Midtown Manhattan. Another option for Newark flyers could be Philadelphia, about 90 miles from Newark Liberty.
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As of June 27, Southwest offered a peak schedule of 20 departures a day from Newark to 10 cities: Austin, Texas; Baltimore/Washington; Chicago Midway; Denver; Nashville; Oakland, California; Orlando; Phoenix; San Diego and St. Louis.
Southwest’s exit from Newark will end an eight-year run for the airline at the New Jersey airport. Southwest first began flying there in March 2011, offering an initial schedule of eight daily round-trip flights to Chicago Midway and St. Louis.