Press Release Article


Date: Jul 24, 2008
Press Release Number: 80-2008

Runways and taxiways will become more efficient, aircraft on the ground will be more closely tracked, and greater use of the largest passenger and cargo planes will increase capacity at John F. Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports as the result of $68 million worth of improvement programs approved today by the Port Authority Board of Commissioners.

The action comes two weeks after the Port Authority's Flight Delay Task Force, a high-level group of influential stakeholders in the aviation industry that produced more than 100 recommendations to reduce delays, increase safety and improve customer service, reconvened to demand that federal officials overhaul a 1950s era air traffic control system.

The Port Authority has called for solutions that increase capacity through investments in new technology and opposes efforts to limit capacity by implementing an auction system for airlines to bid on slots. An auction system is not expected to reduce flight delays and will serve only as an additional tax on metropolitan-area passengers, increasing tickets prices by an estimated 12 percent.

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “The investments we're announcing today demonstrate our ongoing and firm commitment to do what we can to improve the flying experience for our customers. They build on the Task Force's conclusion that reducing flight delays requires making capacity-expanding investments in the nation's aviation system. We now call on our federal partners to do their part and begin replacing the decades-old air traffic control system at our nation's airports, beginning with the three major airports in the New York region."

Executive Director Chris Ward said, “This is one of many steps we must take to attack head on the delay problems at our airports. But we also need the federal government as our partner if we are ever going to fundamentally fix this problem. That is why we will continue to urge the federal government to pull back its misguided policies that will only increase delays and costs to consumers."

The measures approved by the Board today include:

  • Installation of a ground surveillance system at Kennedy Airport that works like GPS to pinpoint the exact location of all aircraft at the airport. This information will be used to manage swifter movement of aircraft between the terminals and runways, saving more than $10 million annually in aircraft operating costs and value of passenger time, as calculated using federally established standards.

  • Widening of 32 taxiway intersections at Newark Airport to significantly increase the amount of available taxi routes for larger aircraft such as the Boeing 777 and the Airbus A340-600, which will create greater flexibility for air controllers to sequence departures and reduce taxi times for all aircraft.

  • Extension of Taxiways “YA" and “FB" at JFK to improve departure procedures on Runway 22R. The improvements will cut takeoff times by up to 2 ½ minutes for every departing flight, equating to more than $82 million in annual savings.

  • Construction of a Taxiway “KA" hold pad at JFK to create more-efficient queuing and sequencing procedures for Runway 4L departures. The improvements will reduce delays by about a minute per operation, for an annual savings of nearly $24 million.

Candace McAdams or Pasquale DiFulco, 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; 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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