Today marks the beginning of what could be an ugly four months at JFK International Airport, as the NYC-area travel hub loses its busiest runway for renovation work. This move has forced the airport to reduce the number of flights going in and out by 20% during this time.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates all three major airports in the NYC area, has reduced the total number of arrivals and departures at JFK from around 1,300 to 1,050.
The redo on Runway 13-31 isn’t just a simple repaving job. The $376 million effort will widen the runway by 50 feet and add taxiways, all with the goal of reducing flight delays by around 10,500 hours each year.
To deal with the temporary loss of the runway has forced carriers into some creative thinking. JetBlue will be running about 20 fewer flights per day out of JFK; that’s slightly more than a 10% cut. American Airlines is maintaining its current flight schedule, but is holding off an a planned increase.
Though the Port Authority is hoping the loss of the runway will be “invisible” to passengers, bottlenecks and delays — especially at an airport already noted for them — are inevitable.
As always, it’s advised to book departing flights out of JFK for as early in the morning as possible.