Press Release Article


Date: Jun 30, 2005
Press Release Number: 80-2005

Regional Air Traffic is Projected to Increase More than 6 Percent Over 2004

Port Authority Advances Improvement Program
At John F. Kennedy International Airport to Help Meet Growing Demand

About 100 million air travelers are expected to use John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports in 2005, exceeding last year’s record total of nearly 94 million passengers by more than 6 percent, according to a forecast released today by the Port Authority.

Declining airline ticket prices and strong demand, combined with extensive public and private investments that have delivered a host of improvements, continue to drive growth at the region’s three major airports.

The 2005 air travel forecast also calls for an exceptionally strong summer travel season. More than 35.5 million passengers are expected to use the airports between June 1 and September 30, compared with about 33.9 million air travelers in the same period last year.

To help meet the growing demand, the Port Authority today authorized the award of a contract for the relocation of a taxiway at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the latest action in a $179 million program of aeronautical improvements to maintain the airport’s runways, taxiways and related infrastructure in a state of good repair while also preparing for the next generation of larger, quieter and more-efficient aircraft, including the Airbus 380, which is expected to begin passenger service in 2007. The work will not impact passengers at JFK because the Port Authority, in close coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines, is staging construction in phases.

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “Air passenger traffic continues to grow at a steady pace, and we’re undertaking a series of initiatives, along with the airlines and the federal government, to ensure our customers continue to receive the best service possible. This year alone, we’ve announced several investments that will improve our customers’ airport experience, including a major customer service campaign, two studies to plan the modernization of terminals at Newark and LaGuardia airports, and the construction of a new parking garage at Kennedy Airport. As articulated in our 10-year strategic plan, we continue to make security a top priority, as we demonstrated once again this year when we approved a $219 capital improvement initiative that will strengthen airport security systems and standards that are already among the toughest in the world.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “Our airports are known around the globe as world-class gateways, and we’ve worked hard at the Port Authority to ensure that these facilities remain in the vanguard in aviation, because we know how important they are to New York City and the region. At Kennedy Airport, for example, we’ve ushered in several eras in air travel, from the early days of the DC-6 in the 1940s through the advent of the Boeing 747 in the 1970s to the imminent arrival of the Airbus 380 later this decade. And with passenger traffic continuing to trend upward, our commitment to our customers is greater than ever, because as we’ve seen in the past, the improvements we make today will benefit travelers for decades to come.”

Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. said, “We continue to plan future investments so that our airport system can support passenger growth, because we’ll begin facing new challenges as annual passengers counts exceed 100 million in the years ahead. We can’t meet passenger growth simply by adding flights, because our airways already are congested. We’re working closely with the airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration to study airspace redesign and explore the use of innovations such as the Airbus 380 – newer, quieter, more-efficient aircraft that can carry more people than ever before. As steward of the region’s airports, we’re going to seek sensible ways to meet growth while remaining sensitive to our airports’ neighbors.”

The 2005 air passenger forecast’s highlights include:

  • Nearly 41 million passengers are expected at Kennedy Airport, which would represent an increase of more than 9 percent over 2004.

  • At LaGuardia Airport, nearly 26 million passengers are projected this year, which would mark a 6 percent increase over last year.

  • Newark Liberty International Airport is anticipated to exceed 33 million passengers – 3.5 percent more than 2004 and the first time Newark will surpass that benchmark since 2000.

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 Container 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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