JFK runway back after renovations

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Just in time for the holidays, the busiest runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport has fully reopened after months of renovation that helped to ease congestion, airport officials said.

The bay runway, which at 14,511 feet is the longest runway at the airport, returned to full service Nov. 15, the Port Authority said. In March, the strip, used for one-third of JFK’s flights, was shut down for a $350 million reconstruction that expanded the runway and gave it new amenities, according to the PA.

The new runway has been widened from 150 feet to 200 feet and includes state-of-the-art concrete that the PA said is stronger than asphalt. It also includes several high-speed taxiways, new lighting and improved drainage, according to the PA.

The new taxiways will help reduce delays by providing jets with a more efficient way to wait for takeoff, the PA said. The expanded roadway will also enable larger jets to arrive at JFK, and airport officials said that also would cut down on the number of delays.

JFK was ranked third to last in a list of national airports for on-time arrivals, right behind Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, in a 2009 survey that was compiled by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). Port Authority officials have pushed for smaller infrastructure changes and the use of larger jets to alleviate the congestion problem at JFK.

The majority of the work was completed between March and June and was finished on time and on budget, the PA said. The agency took three years to plan the project and the PA worked with airlines to avoid serious problems with flights while the runway was closed down.

Federal Aviation Administration officials said flight delays of 15 minutes or more at JFK Airport were down 6 percent this year compared to the same period in 2009.

Despite the improved statistics from the FAA, travelers said they were still not pleased with flying out of the international airport.

JFK ranked fifth to last on the 2010 Zagat Survey for Airlines and Airports with a 9.57 out of 30 rating for overall quality. The rating marked a slight decrease from last year’s 9.94 rating.

The survey, which was released Monday, named LaGuardia Airport as the airport with the worst quality with a 6.18 rating, which is down slightly by 0.50 point from last year’s rating.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 6:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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