Building on a program of initiatives to provide relief for air travelers at the New York metropolitan-area airports, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners today approved nearly $60 million in investments that will plan for the modernization of a 45-year-old passenger terminal at LaGuardia Airport and create more efficient aircraft operations to reduce delays at Newark Liberty International Airport.
The Port Authority also will open a new Welcome Center at LaGuardia Airport this week, just in time to assist Thanksgiving holiday travelers. It is the second Welcome Center opened by the agency - the first debuted at John F. Kennedy International Airport's new Terminal 5 last month - to assist arriving passengers with ground transportation, hotel information, and other related needs. More than 20 of the centers will open throughout all passenger terminals at the agency's airports by 2012.
The Board acted today to advance the second phase of a study to modernize and redevelop LaGuardia Airport's Central Terminal Building, which handles about half of the airport's 24 million annual passengers. The $40 million study is expected to be complete in 2010.
An additional $19.75 million was approved for navigational aids improvements at Newark Liberty, which will enable more arrivals in inclement weather by improving the ability of aircraft to operate in low-visibility conditions.
Today's authorizations are the latest in a series of measures and investments that the agency has undertaken to aid air travelers "from the living room to the runway," which in the last 18 months alone include:
- increasing significantly its staff of Customer Care Representatives;
- adding seating to terminals at LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International and Stewart International;
- creating e-mail alerts to provide timely information on delays and parking availability;
- replacing seats and flooring on the entire AirTrain JFK fleet;
- opening a new parking garage and cell-phone lot at Kennedy Airport, and a new parking lot at Stewart;
- providing power poles at Kennedy, Newark and LaGuardia airports for customers to recharge batteries for portable electronic devices free of charge; and
- adding dozens of new airport retail, food and beverage, and concessions outlets.
Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, "Today's Board actions reflect the agency's commitment, first and foremost, to improving the travel experience for our customers. We're also calling on the federal government to put customers first, by modernizing the air traffic control system and implementing the 77 technical recommendations of our Flight Delay Task Force."
Executive Director Chris Ward said, "From the living room to the runway, the Port Authority is committed to making our customers' experience as stress-free and delay-free as possible. These investments continue that commitment to the 110 million people who use our airports every year."
Other steps taken by the Board recently include a project to implement a GPS-like system at Kennedy to better track aircraft on the ground, which will decrease travel times between the airfield and passenger terminals; a program of taxiway improvements at Kennedy to reduce waiting times and improve queuing procedures; and improvements to taxiway intersections at Newark Liberty that will enhance operating efficiency and reduce taxi times.
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The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
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; 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.