Press Release Article


Date: Jul 01, 2010
Press Release Number: 45-2010

A state-of-the-art flight departure management system, which had previously only been used by the Port Authority during winter storms and the recent closure of JFK’s Bay Runway, will be continued as a trial until year’s end at the busy hub to help ease congestion during this peak travel season.

This system was in large part responsible for the minimal delays that occurred during the recent closure of JFK’s longest runway, a project completed on schedule and on budget.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is joining its airline partners at John F. Kennedy International Airport to continue the trial program that reduces the number of jets queuing on taxiways by letting passengers remain in the terminal longer before takeoff.  In addition to easing runway congestion, the program will save airlines money in fuel costs, reduce taxi time, limit pollution and lessen passengers’ frustrations.

During normal conditions, the FAA currently operates on a “first-called, first-served” basis, which requires aircraft to be in a taxi line to secure a departure spot.  Under surface management, the planes abide by a “reservation” system and are assigned a time window for departure.

The surface management program works by limiting eight to 12 planes to be in line for takeoff from a particular runway at any time during peak hours, a process that prevents large numbers of idling planes from stacking in lengthy lines.

“This program is a triple-win for the 48 million passengers who travel annually through JFK, our airline partners, and the environment.’’ said Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia.  “The collaboration between the Port Authority, the FAA, the airlines and private enterprise has been exemplary and is critical to the program's success.’’

“This is an exciting new program that the Port Authority spearheaded to do everything we can to reduce flight delays.  It is a state-of-the-art approach that we hope will spread to all of our airports in the near future and set a national standard going forward,’’ said Chris Ward, the Port Authority’s executive director.  “I want to thank the FAA and all of the airlines for partnering on this important effort.”

Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni said, “Success with this program can be a model for flight delay reduction projects at other busy airports nationwide, including Newark Liberty International Airport.  This and other programs like promoting Next Gen satellite technology to move planes more efficiently shows the agency’s commitment to reducing flight delays here and across the nation.”

A variation of the surface management program was in effect the past three years during winter operations to help reduce the length of time between de-icing and takeoff by maintaining a short departure queue, thereby mitigating the need for secondary de-icing.

Limiting departure queues to just eight to 12 planes minimizes the time passengers spend waiting in line for takeoff, while ensuring a steady stream of flights so capacity is not lost.  If a plane must push back from the gate early to accommodate an arriving flight, it is sent to locations on the tarmac for “metering,’’ where it can operate on auxiliary power until its reservation time when it may taxi for takeoff.  Passeur Aerospace will continue to handle staffing for the program during the additional trial period.

The Port Authority has taken a series of steps in recent years to reduce flight delays, including formation of the National Alliance to Advance NextGen to urge the federal government to move swiftly to fund satellite navigational technology and away from the current 1950s-era radar-based equipment.  NextGen allows aircraft the precision of flying closer together and landing more efficiently without jeopardizing safety.

Other steps the bi-state agency has taken to reduce congestion include:


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Jennifer Friedberg or Ron Marsico, 212 435-7777

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Stewart International and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Port Authority Auto Marine Terminal; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan and is a partner in the Access to the Region’s Core tunnel project.