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With Peak Traffic Months Approaching, What Effect Will JFK’s Runway Closure Have?

With Peak Traffic Months Approaching, What Effect Will JFK’s Runway Closure Have?
Joe Cortez

Flyers are concerned that ongoing runway construction at JFK could cause delays, but airport officials say they have a plan.

With a runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) scheduled to remain closed through summer’s peak traffic period, many travelers are concerned about congestion. Fortunately, the FAA and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey claim to have a plan that will keep operations running smoothly.

As part of a $457 million renovation, Runway 4L/22R closed in April and will remain closed through late September while crews work to widen the runway, allowing it to maintain FAA safety-zone requirements and accommodate larger aircraft, such as the Airbus A380.

Despite the loss of the runway during busy travel months, NBC News reports airport officials are doing everything they can to keep travelers happy and flights on time. Travelers, however, are expressing their concerns with the situation, worried that their flights could experience regular delays without the extra runway.

Both the FAA and Port Authority claim they have plans in place to mitigate the loss of the runway. A representative for the FAA told NBC News that their plan entails “[usage of] various runway configurations and air traffic procedures at the major New York area airports to help minimize congestion that may occur during the construction.” As a result, both airlines and the airport are reporting zero delays as a result of the construction so far.

“We haven’t seen any impact whatsoever,” said Matt Miller, spokesman for American Airlines. “It’s been a great collaboration between us, the FAA and the Port Authority.”

Still, flyers are remaining skeptical about landing and departing on time at JFK, with the runway down for the summer. “With one runway closed, you can only imagine what will happen if other things go wrong,” Michael Pryor, a traveler at JFK, told NBC News. “It’s probably a place you don’t want to be anywhere near.”

Earlier this month, FiveThirtyEight ranked JFK the second slowest airport in America, with round trips experiencing as much as an additional hour in flights. In addition, experts say that weather and air traffic patterns could create more problems, with more flights struggling to land with less runways available.

[Photo: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey]

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1 Comment

  1. pfbloom

    June 24, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    The altered FAA plans to cover runway closures at JFK may be okay in normal conditions but were a nightmare on Tuesday 6/23. A string of late-afternoon thunderstorms – hardly a unusual summertime occurance – left JFK with 4-6 hour delays. AA may have been able to adjust and work with the delay times but for JetBlue it was a disaster: cancelled flights, harried passengers, and 100-person long lines of people trying to rebook. With limited backup resources and nadequate IT, JetBlue was unable to accomodate so many changes, and many passengers were left with few options. Not sure we’re hearing the full story about these potential impacts of runway work.

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