July 26, 2019
Southwest Airlines announced it would cease operations at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey due to the dozens of flights being canceled daily because of the Boeing 737 Max grounding.
Southwest employees, which the AP reported total 125, will be transferred to La Guardia Airport or have an opportunity to relocate somewhere in the company's network.
Flights out of the New York region will be consolidated to LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International "to mitigate damages," CEO Gary Kelly said. Southwest ran 15 midway flights daily to Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, Phoenix, and Denver, among others.
Rising flight costs in the area are unlikely, as there are a handful of nearby options for travelers, including the New York airports and Philadelphia International, which is just over an hour-and-a-half drive and accessible on public transit.
During its second-quarter earnings call on Thursday, the company said it will focus consolidating its resources elsewhere, with a larger emphasis on its market in California and Hawaii, Kelly confirmed to analysts.
Operating income for Southwest's second quarter was $968 million — $4 million less than the same period the year before, the New York Times reported.
The Boeing 737 Max plane was grounded in March after deadly incidents involving the jet. An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed killing all 157 people on board, and five months earlier, a 737 crashed in Indonesia, killing 189.