As we all know, New York has the busiest airport system in the US. Between its main three airports JFK, LGA, and Newark, the area handles flights to/from every inhabited continent . The second busiest airport is Newark Liberty, a major United hub. Well, it was reported during May that the airport would change to becoming a less slot constricted airport. Newark airport would go from Category 3 to Category 2, per IATA designations. The change will be implemented on October 30th.
What this means:
It is very simple, Newark went from being an airport that had strict slot regulations, to a schedule-facilitated airport level 2, which means that flights will no longer be departing and landing based on very strictly controlled slots. For reference, slots are allocated time frames for each flight to arrive or depart. This opens up the airport to more carriers. Low-cost carriers, such as JetBlue and Southwest are already on board. But to be able to understand how these benefits will impact, one needs to see how the airport used to operate.
Before, Newark airport was constrained to 81 operations per hour. Now, with the improvement in Category, that cap will be lifted and set much higher. Per NJ.com, a Cat. 3 airport is one where there is not enough infrastructure to accommodate demand. A Cat. 2 airport is one where there may be moments when infrastructure would be stressed, but with a facilitator, it is possible to maintain smooth operations.
This means that more carriers would be allowed to operate to Newark. This opening would not only be exclusive to US carriers, but also to foreign carriers who may be interested in serving the airport.
How this may affect you:
In short, it means more flights. In turn, this could lead to possibly more congestion in the airport. The plus side is that it opens up for more competition. Since United controls around 70% of the market share there, it would be great to see more varied carriers operate out of the airport and provide more options for consumers.
The FAA’s main arguments in favor also state that they wish that the opening up of slots allows the general public more access to the New York City area. In a benefit to United, this will allow the airline to better tailor its schedules to fit passenger demand. Yes, they will have more competition, but at least they are able to offer better connections for passengers.
On-time arrivals have continually improved at Newark airport. That meant that the airport was ready to increase its capacity of flights. Allowing this means more access to both United and other carriers to start new services or increase frequencies.
I am a big fan of opening up playing fields to competition. Being from Puerto Rico, and one of the first routes Southwest announced was a seasonal service to San Juan. I am already seeing the benefits of Newark airport’s “de-regulation” . I believe that this will allow other carriers, such as Spirit, Frontier, JetBlue among other carriers, to expand operations at the airport. This could possibly open up more slots at LGA and/or JFK. With the change, I hope to also see more international carriers operating to Newark. If you look at flights starting October 30th and the subsequent few weeks, we can see how this change has already added quite a few new services to the airport. I firmly believe that this change will allow Newark airport’s brightest days to be ahead of them.