Last updated: 03:34 PM ET, Mon April 06 2015

New York’s JFK Airport Could Face Delays During Renovation Project

Airlines & Airports | Donald Wood | April 06, 2015

New York’s JFK Airport Could Face Delays During Renovation Project

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Congestion at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City is typical, but it will likely be much worse this summer when the city shuts down one of the facility’s primary runways for about five months.

According to CBS New York, JFK officials will be closing the main arrivals runway in order to make proper repairs and resurface it for smoother landings. The shutdown will begin as the height of summer travel season kicks off and “will likely remain closed through most of hurricane season.”

In ideal weather conditions—like minimal winds and clear visibility—being without one of JFK’s four runways doesn’t typically cause major delays. If there are adverse conditions in New York City, though, the closure of the main arrivals runway could cause major changes and disruptions.

Airline industry analyst Robert Mann spoke to Jim Smith of WCBS 880 about the concerns regarding congestion:

“When things get very congested, they may invoke ground stops at flight origins for flights destined to the New York airports just because they know they’re not going to be able to handle them until later. So when you’re sitting in Dallas and you’re ground-stopped for your flight to LaGuardia, it may be due to weather. It may be due to the congestion. Or it may be due to a change that was made at Kennedy.”

Weather is the determining factor in which runway the tower instructs pilots to land on or take off from. One of the biggest factors is wind, and the airport is constantly keeping tabs on how the wind changes.

Officials told CBS New York that planes could be forced to land on runway 13L. The landing strip runs parallel to Jamaica Bay, and poor weather conditions would cause a mess for the Federal Aviation Administration.

On the positive side, the new runway repairs and upgrades will make the main arrivals runway wider, longer and much safer for all planes, including larger international flights. Spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Ron Marisco, told CBS New York that the electrical and lighting systems were also going to be replaced.

While the upgrades have the possibility of causing short-term delays, the changes and improvements for safety purposes at JFK will be priceless.

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