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Both LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) are capacity controlled. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) dictates takeoff and landing permissions (known as slots). If an airline doesn’t use all of its slots, it risks losing them. Currently, the FAA is allowing a temporary slot waiver at both of these New York City airports and Delta Air Lines is taking advantage of this opportunity to trim its schedule and shift some regional flights to its hub at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW).
As reported by The Points Guy, Delta is dropping service from LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to Greater Binghamton Airport (BGM) and University Park Airport (SCE). Flights between New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Ithaca Tompkins International Airport (ITH) will also be cancelled. All three of these routes will move to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW). It’s also cutting the frequencies on flights to Bangor International Airport (BGR), Burlington International Airport (BTV), Norfolk International Airport (ORF), and Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR).
Speculation is that Delta launched some of these routes to “slot squat” or hold its permissions when the Covid waiver expired and it’s now taking advantage of the latest waiver by not having to use them (this is in effect until October 2024).
Anthony’s Take: Airport slots are constantly eyed by competing airlines and historically they were fiercely protected with carriers going as far as running unprofitable routes just to hold them. Delta is making a smart move here if it will save money and especially if demand for these routes is not high.
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