United Airlines drops three Newark and Washington routes this winter
United Airlines will end three routes to Canada, Ohio and Tennessee this winter, even as it plans to continue its accelerated growth strategy through next year.
The Star Alliance carrier will discontinue service between Chattanooga (CHA) in Tennessee and Washington Dulles (IAD) on Dec. 3; Dayton (DAY) in Ohio and Newark Liberty (EWR) on Jan. 4; and Ottawa (YOW) and Newark on March 4, according to Diio by Cirium schedule data.
United spokesman Jonathan Guerin cited "low customer demand" for the decision to end the three routes. The airline will continue to serve Chattanooga, Dayton and Ottawa from other hubs in its network, he added.
The carrier began the Chattanooga-Dulles route last October as part of a larger shift in connecting markets to its Washington DC-area hub from Newark. It has served both the Dayton and Ottawa routes from Newark since its merger with Continental Airlines in 2010.
Travelers will continue to have flight options in all three markets. American Airlines flies between Chattanooga and Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA); United codeshare partner Air Canada between Ottawa and Newark, and Delta Air Lines between Ottawa and nearby New York LaGuardia (LGA); and American between Dayton and LaGuardia, Diio data shows.
United's network cull comes as it maintains plans to grow capacity by an elevated 4-6% year-over-year in 2020. Some of that growth will come from international additions, including new flights to Cape Town (CPT), Nice (NCE) and Tokyo Haneda (HND), but also new domestic routes and frequencies, like new service to Riverton (RIW) and Sheridan (SHR) in Wyoming. The airline is focused on boosting connecting traffic over its mid-continent hubs at Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Denver (DEN) and Houston.
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However, the regional reductions disclosed in United's latest schedule update reflect an increasing willingness to drop markets that are not working -- Chattanooga-Dulles -- and drop long-term markets that do not pass muster -- both Newark routes.
The carrier does not expect the on-going Boeing 737 MAX grounding to impact its 2020 growth plans. United currently has the MAX in schedules beginning Dec. 19.