Air Traffic Rebounds to Pre-9/11 Levels; Parking Lots Expected to Fill Up Quickly; Travelers Advised to Use Mass Transit
More than 4 million people are expected to use the Port Authority's airports and nearly 5 million vehicles will use the agency's bridges and tunnels during the 16-day, year-end holiday travel period that begins December 18.
Port Authority Chief Operating Officer Ernesto L. Butcher said, “We expect air traffic to be heavy this year, as we rebound to pre-September 11 levels. Our experienced staff is prepared to handle the holiday rush.”
All three of the region’s major airports – John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports – are gearing up to handle heavy traffic volumes, which this year are expected to increase by 15.2 percent to 4.1 million passengers. During the same period in 2003, 3.6 million people used the area’s three airports.
“As with every busy travel period, we remind passengers to check the status of their flights before leaving home. Also, we remind them to leave adequate time to check in at the airport and pass through security,” Mr. Butcher said.
“An increase in air traffic means that airport parking lots may fill up quickly, especially the long-term lots,” Mr. Butcher said. We urge travelers to take advantage of AirTrain at JFK and Newark Liberty International airports, or use limo or taxi service or get to the airport.”
Port Authority Director of Public Safety Superintendent of Police Samuel J. Plumeri, Jr. said, “To expedite the wait at security checkpoints, we remind travelers to be aware of screening procedures and familiarize themselves with permitted and prohibited items.”
Passengers can call 800 AIR-RIDE for up-to-date information on transportation options including the Port Authority’s AirTrain Newark – which connects Newark Liberty International Airport to NJ Transit and Amtrak rail service – and AirTrain JFK, which connects Kennedy Airport to Penn Station, the Long Island Rail Road, the New York City subway and other points.
For current parking information at Newark Liberty International Airport, call 888 EWR-INFO and press 22, or tune radios to 530 AM when near the airport. Those planning to park at JFK can call 718 244-4444 or listen to 1630 AM for updates. For LaGuardia Airport parking information, call 718 533-3400 or tune into airport radio at 530 AM.
The agency’s tunnels, bridges, and bus terminals and the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) rapid transit rail system also are prepared to handle heavy passenger volumes. An estimated 4.7 million vehicles will use the Port Authority’s four bridges and two tunnels during the 16-day holiday travel period – about the same as 2003.
To ease congestion, the Port Authority has suspended construction and
maintenance work at the George Washington Bridge, Holland and Lincoln tunnels and the Staten Island Bridges from Thursday, December 23, to Monday, December 27, and Thursday, December 30, to Monday, January 3.
PATH will operate normal weekday schedules on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Trains will be added as necessary to accommodate commuters who leave work early. On Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, PATH will operate on a holiday schedule. To accommodate passengers traveling for New Year’s Eve celebrations, PATH will operate additional overnight service on the Newark to World Trade Center and Journal Square to 33rd Street via Hoboken. For detailed information about PATH schedules, call 800 234-PATH or visit www.panynj.gov. PATH reminds New Year\'s Eve passengers that consuming food and beverages on the train is not permitted.
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; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit rail 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.