Port Authority Approves $215 Million for JFK Runways

The Port Authority has approved a $215 million project to repair a key runway at JFK International Airport and add a new taxiway.

Construction of the new high-speed taxiway at JFK will help make operations at one of the nation’s busiest airports more efficient, reduce delays, and save travelers time says the Port Authority.

The 10,000-foot-long Runway 13L-31R, which runs east/west on the airport’s north side and handles nearly 50 percent of JFK’s arriving planes, will be overhauled as part of the Port Authority’s major investment program in the airport. The work includes milling of runway pavement, laying new asphalt, and the replacement of lighting and electrical systems.

A new, high-speed taxiway will be created to allow planes to exit the runway faster after touching down, speeding the time to gates and freeing the runway sooner for the next plane. A traditional taxiway is lined up perpendicular or 90 degrees to a runway, requiring planes to slow nearly to a stop to safely exit the runway. High-speed taxiways are more gently angled, along the lines of 45 degrees, so that planes can leave the runways more quickly, thereby reducing delays.

The additional high-speed taxiway is projected to reduce runway occupancy time per arrival at JFK Airport by nearly six seconds on average. Shaving those seconds will produce cumulative time savings of approximately 1,000 hours in taxiing times annually from the runway’s nearly 90,000 aircraft landings, with combined savings for airlines in reduced fuel and operating costs and travel time savings for passengers valued at approximately $9 million annually, as calculated under guidelines of the Federal Aviation Administration’s benefit cost analysis for delay reduction projects.

This major project is being coordinated with the FAA and the airlines to ensure minimal impact to travelers, flight schedules and airport operations during construction. While the current schedule calls for the work to begin in 2019, staff has been asked to determine if some work can begin next year without impacting peak travel season period operations, to speed the project’s timeline.

The project is part of the Port Authority’s program of infrastructure improvements at its airports focused on safety and delay reduction. The program includes adding high speed taxiways at JFK and Newark, and expanding aeronautical space at LGA as part of the ongoing redevelopment program. These infrastructure improvements have been combined with technology enhancements to reduce delays by managing arrival and departure traffic more efficiently.

“Today’s investment in John F. Kennedy International Airport keeps our infrastructure in a state-of-good repair while enhancing operations and reducing delays with the new high-speed taxiway,’’ said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “This work is another example of the Port Authority fulfilling its core transportation mission by enhancing infrastructure to meet the region’s 21st century needs.”

The project, which will keep the runway in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration standards, also will provide a boost to the regional economy. Over the life of the project, the work is expected to generate 1,880 total jobs, an additional $140.6 million in wages and nearly $385 million in economic activity.