Mon, Mar 01, 2010
Airlines Shifting Schedules, Delays A Concern
One of JFK International Airport's (KJFK) busiest runways
closed Monday morning for an extensive renovation project that is
expected to last four months.
Runway 13R-31L, also known as the Bay Runway, is undergoing a
project that will widen it from 150 to 200 feet, and add taxiways
at a price tag of $376 million. The goal is to reduce traffic
congestion at the airport.
In anticipation of the project, airport officials have reduced
the number of operations at KJFK from about 1,300 per day to 1,050.
CNN Travel reports that JetBlue voluntarily cut about 10 percent of
its flights at KJFK, which is also a hub for Delta and American
One long-time air traffic controller said he thinks the impact
"will be felt" by the traveling public. Stephen Abraham, the
National Air Traffic Controllers Association president at JFK, said
"There will be hours of the day when we normally experience heavy
departure volume and we're going to run delays that are going to be
exacerbated by not having that runway."
He said the worst of the congestion would be between 1700 and
2000, when there is usually a steady stream of departures from the
airport. The delays are often 15-30 minutes on a normal day during
those hours, he said, and weather could make those waits longer
very quickly ... up to an hour or more.
Still, Abraham said the project has to be done, and he
"wholeheartedly endorsed" KJFK's plan to do it all at once, rather
than in segments which could stretch the project out over at least
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