Airport Study Tells NYers Something They Already Know

By DAVID KOENIG
|  Thursday, Oct 8, 2009  |  Updated 7:45 AM EDT
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Airport Study Tells NYers Something They Already Know

Stephen Chernin

Getting through check-in at JFK can take as long as your flight.

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Lengthy airline delays are twice as common now as in 1990 and will get worse as the economy recovers -- and New York-area airports are the worst of the bunch, a new report finds.

This is hardly a surprise to anyone who has ever set foot in Laguardia, JFK or Newark.

According to a Brookings Institute study, the researchers found New York to be the worst metro area in the country for late flights, something that has been evident in monthly on-time reports from the Transportation Department. About 30 percent of arrivals and 22 percent of departures in New York are late.

The survey finds that 10.1 percent of all flights now arrive at least two hours late, up from 4.3 percent in 1990. The average delay is nearly an hour, 41 minutes longer than in 1990.

The researchers found New York to be the worst metro area in the country for late flights, something that has been evident in monthly on-time reports from the Transportation Department. About 30 percent of arrivals and 22 percent of departures in New York are late.

The researchers said much of the problem is due to heavy concentrations of short trips between big cities, but they also cited an "ill-equipped" air traffic control system and other factors.

They suggested increasing high-speed rail service to offer travelers alternatives to short flights. They also recommended letting busy airports charge fees on rush-hour flights to make airlines spread trips more evenly through the day.

On-time performance has improved lately because airlines have cut flights during the recession. But as the economy recovers, so will air travel — meaning more delays — said Adie Tomer, co-author of the report.

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