JFK's Longest Runway Re-opens

By Maria Eugenia Miranda
|  Tuesday, Jun 29, 2010  |  Updated 11:46 AM EDT
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JFK's Longest Runway Re-opens

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The longest runway at JFK is reopening after repairs to accommodate bigger planes and more traffic.

John F. Kennedy Airport’s longest runway, which handles about one-third of its international flights annually, re-opened June 28 after closing in March for renovation.

Officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Federal Aviation Administration and representatives from airlines and the project spoke this morning at JFK, saying the runway is re-opening ahead of schedule and within its budget. The total cost of the project is $376 million.

“This is a model example of the Port Authority completing a critical project on time and on budget," said Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia. "It is an impressive accomplishment that will help reduce flight delays for decades to come."

The revamped Bay Runway, which will be one of the largest in the world at 14,572 feet when the project is finished at the end of 2011, is expected to reduce delays at JFK by 10,500 hours because it is being widened from 150 to 200 feet to create high-speed exits and holding pads. So far, the bulk of the expansion has been completed and about 3,647 feet of runway work will be completed in the next two phases of the project. Departing aircraft will soon be able to bypass planes being held on the tarmac.

An 18-inch concrete overlay is replacing old asphalt, saving the airport $500 million in the long run in maintenance costs. A new drainage system and electrical infrastructure is also being installed. The project was initiated last July. 

About $15 million of the funding for this project is coming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, $73 million from the FAA, and $200 million from the Port Authority, providing about 2,500 jobs.

“With the completion of the Bay Runway reconstruction, John F. Kennedy International Airport has stepped boldly into a new era of transportation that will mean jobs, new revenue, and greater economic growth for the entire tri-state region," said Governor David Paterson. "The project represents a vital infrastructure investment that will boost our economy by making the region a more accessible and desirable place to live, work, and do business.  My thanks to The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for its leadership and hard work; to our airline partners, whose cooperation and sacrifice were so essential; and of course to the Federal Aviation Administration for its collaboration and expertise.”

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