Southwest Airlines has announced that it will cease operations at Newark Liberty International Airport and consolidate its New York metropolitan area operations at LaGuardia International.
The New York Times reports that Southwest officials announced during a conference call on the airline’s quarterly earnings that the shift from Newark to LaGuardia would take place on November 3.
Southwest has flown out of Newark since 2011, but CEO Gary Kelly said that financial performance at the airport had been disappointing. The airline currently has 20 daily departures from Newark.
The move comes as Southwest has struggled to maintain profits in the face of the grounding of its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX jets. The safety-related groundings have contributed to a drop in passengers numbers, higher costs, and lower earnings, Southwest officials said.
Not all current Southwest flights will survive the shift from Newark to LaGuardia. The Arizona Republic, for example, reports that the airline will not replicate its nonstop service from Newark to Phoenix at LaGuardia.
Industry experts told nj.com that it’s unlikely that the departure of Southwest will increase the cost of the remaining flights at the airport, since Newark competes for business with other New York area airports, including LaGuardia and JFK.