Press Release Article


Date: Oct 24, 2012
Press Release Number: 145-2012

Double-Digit Growth in August 2012 Propels System to Busiest Month Ever

Air passenger traffic in the New York metropolitan region increased by 10.2 percent in August compared to the same month last year, reaching 10.8 million passengers and breaking a five-year-old record for the busiest month ever for the Port Authority’s airport system. August also marked the best month ever for international traffic in the system, exceeding the four-million-passenger threshold for the first time in the system’s history, which dates back to the first half of the last century. AirTrain JFK also enjoyed its best month ever for paid ridership with more than 570,000 passengers in August. 

The record month for the airport system also marked new all-time monthly highs for overall passenger traffic at JFK and LaGuardia airports; for JFK’s international traffic; and for LaGuardia’s international and domestic traffic. The previous monthly records for overall and domestic traffic at LaGuardia had stood since 2001, and the previous international mark there was set in 1989.

"These record numbers illustrate the strength of our airport system and reaffirm the value of the investments we have made to enhance air travel at our airports," said Port Authority Chairman David Samson. "The Port Authority remains committed to making significant improvements that will ensure continued success for all our airports. Every dollar we commit to our aviation facilities is an investment in the bistate region’s future."

“Double-digit passenger growth is exceptional in any economic climate, but to follow so closely on the heels of a significant economic downturn is especially significant,” said Scott Rechler, the agency’s vice chair. “Continued investment and passenger growth at our airports translates to jobs and regional economic vitality.”

“The high growth in passengers at our airports is good news for the region’s economy,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “We are committed to continuing our record of making strong investments in our aviation facilities to ensure we maximize their role as high-powered economic engines for the region and the nation. The end result will be tens of thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in increased economic activity.”

“If our airports are economic engines, then passenger traffic is the fuel that makes them go,” Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni said. “These record monthly numbers show the Port Authority’s ongoing investments in its airports are paying dividends.”

Among the highlights:

  • When compared to the same month in the previous year, August 2012 passenger traffic for the system grew at its most accelerated level since May 2005.
  • In reaching 10.8 million total air travelers, passenger levels exceeded the previous record of 10.7 million, which was set in August 2007.
  • International passenger traffic grew by 11.1 percent versus the same month last year in setting a new monthly record. Domestic growth was nearly as strong, increasing by 9.7 percent.
  • JFK’s passenger traffic grew 10.1 percent in August to reach 4.99 million, the highest monthly total ever. International passenger traffic also experienced a double-digit gain of 12.3 percent and set a new monthly record with 2.69 million passengers.
  • AirTrain JFK’s paid ridership was up 27 percent vs. the same month last year.
  • LaGuardia’s 17.1 percent passenger traffic growth continued to set the pace as the airport remained the fastest-growing airport in the PA system this year. Monthly traffic exceeded the 2.5 million mark for the first time, breaking the previous August 2001 record of 2.4 million.
  • International traffic at LaGuardia, which accounts for about 5 percent of the airport’s passengers, grew 69 percent on the strength of a 68 percent increase in available seats (attributable in large part to the arrival of new Canada-based carrier WestJet and expanded services by American Airlines and Air Canada to Toronto). The new monthly record of 178,232 international passengers in August broke the previous monthly mark of 162,101 set in August 1989.
  • LaGuardia’s domestic traffic grew 14 percent and set a monthly record by reaching 2.36 million passengers.
  • Newark Liberty passenger traffic in August 2012 grew 6 percent against the same month in 2011. Of particular note, international traffic at the airport rebounded from monthly declines earlier this year to post a strong 3.2 percent gain.
  • Overall, Newark Liberty handled 3.3 million passengers for the month, its best monthly total in more than a year.

For the full monthly traffic reports for each of the Port Authority’s airports and the regional airport system, visit the Port Authority website at

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Pasquale DiFulco or Ron Marsico,

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where construction crews are building the iconic One World Trade Center, which is now the tallest skyscraper in New York. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the state of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency relies on revenues generated by facility users, tolls, fees and rents as well as loans, bond financing, and federal grants to fund its operations. For more information, please visit

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