Not Just United: Examining The Other Airlines With Large Presences At Newark Airport (2024)

Newark Liberty International Airport

Not Just United: Examining The Other Airlines With Large Presences At Newark Airport (1)

By Channing Reid

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Not Just United: Examining The Other Airlines With Large Presences At Newark Airport (2)

Summary

  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) is a major US airport, the second-largest in the New York City area after JFK.
  • United Airlines dominates EWR, but competitors like American, Delta, and Spirit Airlines have a significant presence.
  • Spirit Airlines is the second-largest airline at EWR, offering an extensive ULCC network, including unique transcontinental routes.

Nestled about 14 miles away from Manhattan, Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) is a major component of air travel to and from the New York City metropolitan area. It is the second-largest airport serving the most populous city in the US, after John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and before LaGuardia Airport (LGA).

While EWR is known to be dominated by Chicago-based United Airlines, other major airlines still operate at the airport. However, United’s network from the airport is, in fact, so extensive, that the carrier does not need to operate at JFK.

Contrastingly, the airline’s main competitors, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, operate at all three New York City area airports. Both carriers operate hubs at JFK and LGA, but offer appropriate competition to United at its home in New Jersey. While some may believe that American and Delta share the leading traffic numbers behind United at EWR, the two carriers actually trail behind a popular ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC). Additionally, EWR sees a handful of capacity from international carriers, primarily serving Canadian and European markets.

Inside the numbers

Opening in 1928, EWR became home to the oldest airfield and the first commercial airline terminal in the US. The airport was a major hub for Continental Airlines until the carrier was merged into United Airlines in 2010. For more than two decades, the airline has utilized EWR as a global gateway, offering the most flights to the most destinations from the New York City/Newark region.

United, along with its regional flights that operate under the United Express brand, has approximately 440 daily flights out of EWR –237 mainline and 203 regional. The airline is responsible for handling an average of 40,000 passengers per day and 14.6 million passengers annually.

Not Just United: Examining The Other Airlines With Large Presences At Newark Airport (3)

Photo:EQRoy | Shutterstock

However, the industry would not be what it is today without competition. In the last couple of years, Spirit Airlines has made a name for itself at EWR, as well as JetBlue Airways. According to aviation data and analytics firm Cirium, Spirit has the second-most flights, seats, and available seat miles (ASMs) albeit still significantly behind United.

EWR Airline Operating Metrics (2024)

Airline

Total Flights

Total Seats

Total Available Seat Miles (ASMs)

United Airlines

276,432

39,687,152

69,577,582,516

Spirit Airlines

22,213

4,213,543

4,536,145,055

Delta Air Lines

18,155

2,211,425

1,805,583,852

American Airlines

15,695

2,577,658

2,811,664,744

JetBlue Airways

15,116

2,418,343

3,375,091,980

Air Canada

10,716

1,007,095

952,317,305

Porter Airlines

7,980

636,640

212,851,904

Alaska Airlines

6,599

1,151,695

2,828,992,880

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)

2,142

536,986

2,062,556,502

TAP Air Portugal

2,044

374,230

1,261,854,550

British Airways

1,595

393,221

1,373,301,986

Lufthansa

1,4501

472,976

1,868,932,688

Allegiant Air

1,316

237,432

172,091,220

La Compagnie

1,293

98,268

375,056,580

EL AL Israel Airlines

1,147

307,807

1,757,037,444

Spirit’s ultra-low-cost success

United clearly has a significant advantage, with over 276,000 flights, 39 million seats, and a whopping 69 billion ASMs. This undoubtedly illustrates how much of a powerhouse the airline is in the region. Next in line is Spirit, with 22,000 flights. The ULCC has notably expanded its presence at EWR, now serving over 20 destinations. Some of its main destinations include:

  • Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Harry Reid International Airport (LAS)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Austin–Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
Not Just United: Examining The Other Airlines With Large Presences At Newark Airport (4)

Photo:GingChen | Shutterstock

With Spirit’s EWR-LAX service, the airline is the only ULCC to serve the popular transcontinental route. The airline competes with Alaska Airlines and JetBlue, which will soon end the route later this year. Despite the airline only offering one flight per day and not having a premium option, it appears to be a satisfactory solution for passengers looking to get across the country without breaking the bank. NK2323 typically involves the Airbus A320 or A320neo once daily, leaving LAX at around 21:30 and arriving early the next day at EWR at around 05:45. The aircraft then turns around and operates as NK2322 back to LAX, departing around 07:00 and arriving in the late morning around 10:00.

Read More

“Encouraged”: Spirit Airlines Has No Plans To File For Bankruptcy After Failed JetBlue Merger

It comes after the carrier reportedly said in February that it was seeking to refinance.

Spirit will be making changes to its EWR operation, however. The airline is planning to end service to Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, this month. In September, flights to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) and San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport (OAK) will also be cut. Although those routes will be ending, Spirit will begin new service to Chicago O’Hare and Kansas City this month.

American, Delta, & Air Canada

Delta has just over 18,000 flights this year, offering 2.2 million seats. The Atlanta-based airline’s operation is larger than that of American's, whose flight count looks similar to JetBlue's. Delta flies from EWR to five of its nine hubs – ATL, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP), Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC). The carrier’s regional brand, Delta Connection, flies to BOS, and also operates service to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), and Raleigh–Durham International Airport (RDU).

Not Just United: Examining The Other Airlines With Large Presences At Newark Airport (6)

Photo:Philip Pilosian | Shutterstock

American beats out JetBlue only by 579 flights this year, but JetBlue notably offers more ASMs. This is largely due to its route network, which is more extensive than Americans, as the carrier flies to a handful of cities in the Caribbean. JetBlue’s aforementioned LAX service is also a component of its increased ASM count. The furthest destination American serves nonstop from EWR is PHX, while it also only operates to its other hubs at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), and Miami International Airport (MIA).

Not Just United: Examining The Other Airlines With Large Presences At Newark Airport (7)

Photo:Jeiel Shamblee | Shutterstock

In the international sector, Air Canada takes the lead with over 10,700 flights. While the Canadian flag carrier beats out its low-cost contender, Porter Airlines, by nearly 3,000 flights, Porter notably has a larger flight count than Alaska Airlines. However, Alaska offers significantly more ASMs as the airline flies to more destinations.

Read Next

They cover more distance than several transatlantic routes.

  • Not Just United: Examining The Other Airlines With Large Presences At Newark Airport (9)
    Newark Liberty International Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    EWR/KEWR

    Country:
    United States

    CEO:
    James Gill

    Passenger Count :
    15,892,892 (2020)

    Runways :
    4L/22R - 3,353m (11,000 ft) |4R/22L - 3,048m (10,000 ft) |11/29 - 2,050m (6,726 ft)

    Terminals:
    Terminal A |Terminal B |Terminal C
  • Analysis
  • North America
  • Airports

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Not Just United: Examining The Other Airlines With Large Presences At Newark Airport (2024)
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