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LGA, JFK ranked among worst in flight delays: Study

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has issued a report that he says shows that while airline flight delays have improved across the United States, delays keep worseningat John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports.

Schumer said the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that on-time flight arrivals had improved nationwide by 2 percent from May 2008 to May 2009, but on-time arrivals worsened by 11.5 percent at JFK and 5.5 percent at LaGuardia.

For May 2009, Schumer said, JFK, Newark and LaGuardia ranked 29th, 30th and 31st, respectively, in on-time arrivals from a sample of the nation’s 31 busiest airports.

“Considering the weather in the New York City area for many months, it would not be surprising to learn that rain and other inclement weather was part of the reason for the delays,” the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey said in a statement.

“Just because flight delays at New York airports haven’t been a big story this summer doesn’t mean that the conditions are improving,” Schumer said. “As flight delays everywhere else get better, New Yorkers continue to be stuck on the runway or in the airport when they should be in the air,” Schumer said. “Until the FAA upgrades air traffic control systems and hires enough controllers in the towers, delays at NewYork City airports will never improve.”

The DOT report said JFK’s late departures increased 5.86 percent in the year ending this past May, were up by 2.7 at La Guardia and rose by 6.65 percent at Newark.

Schumer protested vigorously during the administration of President George W. Bush against a plan to auction landing and take-off slots at city airports, a proposal that was finally abandoned.

The senator has also campaigned for more airport flight controllers, the numbers of which Schumer said were diminished by the retirement of many who reported hostile working conditions under the FAA.

He also has called for the modernization of the air control system, parts of which he contends are from the 1950s.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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