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Airports

JFK Is Shutting Down a Major Runway for the Summer

JFK Is Shutting Down a Major Runway for the Summer
Scott Dylan

What happens when one of the busiest runways in the world shuts down for eight months? We’re all about to find out. Most of us can agree that runway updates are good news. However, it never feels like good news when an airport announces that it plans to shut down a runway for renovations. You should prepare to say goodbye to Runway 13L-31R for a little bit if you fly in or out of New York frequently. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) will be closing that busy runway for reconstruction through November.

Runway 13L-31R handles a huge chunk of JFK’s traffic. However, a decision has been made to take the runway out of commission for a little bit in order to widen it by 33 percent. The updated runway will be stronger and more resilient. That’s because solid concrete will be used to pave over the existing portion of the runway during the reconstruction process. In addition, the new look of the runway will feature new lights, new signs, updated cables and better navigational aids. JFK is also adding some new high-speed taxiways that will make it possible for planes to get off the runway faster.

The big reconstruction project for JFK’s major runway is estimated to create millions of dollars in economic activity. The price tag for the project is estimated to be $355 million. The new runway is going to have an expected lifespan of 40 years. That’s a big difference when compared to the lifespan of eight to 12 years that is expected for a runway made using conventional asphalt. Unfortunately, the period between now and November could be rough for travelers using JFK. The reconstruction of JFK’s major runway will impact all airlines and terminals. The Federal Aviation Administration and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are working in collaboration to create strategies for managing traffic as efficiently and effectively as possible. All of the airlines that serve JFK are also part of the plan. That’s important when you consider that JFK serves somewhere around 61 million arriving passengers per year. In addition, more than 455,000 flights are handled by the hub annually. The big thing to remember is that JFK isn’t the only airport that is likely to experience some truly hectic periods this summer. Even other airports throughout the New York City area are probably going to see extra congestion and delays as a result of the project. That’s especially true for New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport.

[Image Source: Shutterstock]

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