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JFK Runway Will Close For Eight Months. Here’s What Travelers Can Expect.

By Parker Diakite

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A new paving project at one of the busiest airports in the United States is expected to cause travel delays that could last through the year.

Travelers flying through New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport should prepare for a slow down after officials announced that one of its four runways will be closed until November 2019.

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A statement on The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey website reads, “one of four runways normally in use at John F. Kennedy International Airport is closing for reconstruction to ensure the long-term safety and viability of the runway, which is approaching the end of its useful life.”

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Project Runway 13L-31R will involve widening the runway by 33 percent, installing new lights, signs, and cables, and allows the airport to meet new safety standards.


The runway handles approximately one-third of arrivals at JFK, which handles more than 61 million customers and over 455,000 flights each year.

And while there’s no clear data on how long flights will be impacted, FAA leaders are studying runway configuration, aircraft traffic flow rates and aircraft traffic management strategies to maximize efficiency and reduce delays at JFK, airport authorities stated.

In addition, the Port Authority announced the Airport Operations Center (AOC) will be opened around the clock as the focal point for communications between terminal operators, airlines, air traffic control, Customs & Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). 

“The Port Authority recognizes the need for infrastructure upgrades to improve the customer’s flight experience and to better maintain and operate our facilities and assets,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “This project is critical to achieve those goals, and we are working to ensure minimal impact while the reconstruction is under way.”

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