Press Release Article


Date: Mar 29, 2007
Press Release Number: 27-2007

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today authorized the design and construction of beds made of aerated cement blocks that crumble under the weight of an aircraft to stop it safely and quickly in the event it overruns a runway. The arrestor beds will be installed at John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and Teterboro airports.

The technology, known as an Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS), was pioneered by the Port Authority with support from the Federal Aviation Administration, and has proven effective at JFK, where the world’s first EMAS was installed in 1996 and has safely stopped three aircraft, and at Teterboro Airport, where an EMAS was installed in 2006 and has already safely stopped one aircraft.

“The Port Authority has the nation’s most aggressive program to install arrestor beds,” said Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia. “Today’s authorization brings our total number of arrestor beds to seven, far more than any other airport operator in the country.”

Port Authority Executive Director Anthony E. Shorris said, “This technology saves lives, which is why we pioneered arrestor bed development more than a decade ago. Including today’s action, our investment in arrestor beds is more than $115 million, and we are planning to install two additional systems in the near future. I’m sure the dozens of people whose planes were rescued by these beds at JFK and Teterboro would agree that this is money well spent.”

The Board’s action authorizes installation of EMAS systems at the ends of Runway 22L at JFK, Runway 29 at Newark and Runway 19 at Teterboro. Currently, JFK has one arrestor bed, LaGuardia has two and Teterboro has one. The system installed at Newark will be its first. The estimated cost for installation of the new systems is $19 million at JFK, $14.9 million at Newark and $40.7 million at Teterboro. The higher cost for the EMAS at Teterboro is due to the need to relocate a local street in order to complete construction.

The systems’ effect has been compared to driving a vehicle into gradually deepening snow. The collapsible aerated cement blocks rise gradually from the ground to approximately 30 inches and can safely stop an aircraft traveling at up to 80 mph.

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 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; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; 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.

The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.

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