United Airlines to suspend Newark service
The Bermuda Government and the Bermuda Tourism Authority have lamented the suspension of the United Airlines service to Newark this autumn.
While the airline cut winter service to the city in 2014, it last year elected to offer three weekly flights to Newark after discussions with the Government. However, this year it has emerged that service between the city and Bermuda will be suspended for the autumn and winter seasons on September 7.
Aaron Adderley, general manager at the L.F. Wade International Airport, said yesterday: “We are disappointed in United's decision not to continue with service out of Newark during the fall and winter, after we worked hard with them to have the service reinstated last year.
“While we recognise there was some unused seat capacity, there were encouraging signs that demand was increasing and there is further evidence from the Bermuda Tourism Authority that demand is on the rise for the coming fall and winter months.”
Mr Adderley noted that the flight was popular among locals and strategically important as in addition to serving the New York/New Jersey area, it creates opportunities with connecting markets.
“We feel that between our existing airline partners operating from JFK, there should be adequate capacity to fill the void out of New York,” he said. “However, our concern is to ensure that for those originating out of other connecting cities, especially those in the Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West regions, we are able to secure an alternative.
“To that end, we've been pursuing other options and hopefully we can get a positive outcome.”
Meanwhile, a BTA spokesman said the suspension was disappointing given the increase in visitors from New York and New Jersey in the first two quarters of the year, but added: “We don't believe this is unsolvable. We are working with our colleagues in the industry and government to find ways to offset this seat capacity loss.
“It's also important to mention that with a 43 per cent year-over-year increase in airlift from the New York area in the first six months of this year, some kind of market correction may have been inevitable as four airlines competed year-round for Bermuda business in the same geographic area.
“This initially disappointing development perhaps gives us a golden opportunity to look elsewhere for year-round service.”
The suspension of service has frustrated some would-be travellers. Rosemarie Kley, a New Jersey resident and a frequent visitor to the island since 1978, said she would not be able to return to the island next month as she had hoped due to the suspension.
“The Bermuda Tourism Authority has to do something about this situation,” she said. “The airlines should have at least a couple of flights each week. Tourism will definitely suffer from this.”