Five years ago, United Airlines ceased service at New York’s John F Kennedy International, ending the carrier’s decades-long presence at the prime New York City gateway.

Now, United is back.

The Chicago-based carrier on 28 March launched one daily flight each to Los Angeles and San Francisco from JFK, which sits on Long Island southeast of New York City.

United Airlines Boeing 767-300ER 2019

Source: Max Kingsley-Jones/FlightGlobal

United Airlines Boeing 767-300ER in 2019

In doing so, United ditched a previous strategy that led it in 2015 to leave JFK – the purpose being to strengthen its hub at Newark Liberty International airport, which is west of Manhattan in New Jersey. United continued serving New York’s third commercial airport – New York LaGuardia.

Then, as now, United flew from JFK to only Los Angeles and San Francisco. Prior to 2015, it had operated those routes for decades and had served JFK since at least the 1950s. 

United will operate its new JFK flights using Boeing 767-300ERs outfitted with 167 seats, including 46 in business class, 22 in premium economy and 99 in economy. The company hopes “to double the number of flights [at JFK] as demand grows”, it says.

The airline has entered a market with intense competition from four airlines.

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways each fly multiple times daily from JFK to both Los Angeles and San Francisco, Cirium schedules show.