Runway at JFK to Close for Months

By | July 12, 2009
Airplane Lineups at JFK
Image by ATIS547 via Flickr

The longest runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York will be closed for about four months next year as part of a renovation, and airlines have been asked to revise their schedules. The runway, 13R-31L is more than 2.75 miles long, is the second longest in North America after one at Denver International Airport. Last year it handled more than 143,000 takeoffs and landings.

Fortunately, not all of JFK’s runways are used simultaneously, usage is often based on current wind patterns. The runway was last resurfaced in 1993, and after initial preparations this month, will continue through November 2011, with complete closure from March 1st through June 29th of next year. Crews will be removing 5 inches of asphalt and replacing it with concrete.

Earlier this week, significant delays were caused at JFK by the appearance of a large amount of turtles on the runway. If a few turtles can delay flight operations, what can the loss of its biggest runway do to JFK’s already delayed status?

We wonder if any airline would consider trying to increase service at Stewart Airport, now also owned by the Port Authority, during the delay season to see how it works. The Port Authority could give them a good deal on landing fees, and there is a subsidized bus to the Beacon Metro North station as well as relatively inexpensive parking compared to JFK. This won’t work for everyone in the city, but JFK attracts people from around the region.

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