Passenger Activity at Port Authority Airports Sets New Record for Fourth Consecutive Year

Passenger levels again reached record heights at the New York/New Jersey metropolitan airports in 2016, with more than 130 million air passengers – approximately 6 million, or 4.7 percent, more than in 2015 – using the world’s busiest airport system.

The 2016 figures marked the fourth consecutive year of record-setting passenger numbers at the agency’s airports, which include John F. Kennedy International (JFK), Newark Liberty International (EWR), LaGuardia (LGA), Stewart International (SWF), and Atlantic City International (ACY) airports.

The agency’s airports served a record 130.2 total and 45.6 million international passengers last year. At the three major regional airports:

  • JFK welcomed 58.8 million total passengers – with records for its 31.6 million international and 27.2 million domestic passengers.
  • Newark Liberty set new standards with 40 million total passengers – 27.7 million domestic and 12.3 million international passengers.
  • LaGuardia established new records with 29.8 million total passengers – 28.1 million of them flying domestically, even as the airport undergoes a comprehensive redevelopment.

Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye noted that the strong and consistent growth in air passengers illustrates the importance of the agency’s proposed $32.2 billion 2017-2026 capital plan recently introduced by the Port Authority Board of Commissioners for public review and comment, prior to a board vote at its February 16 meeting

The proposed plan dedicates $11.6 billion, or 36 percent of the total plan, to airport modernization and improvements, including funding for new terminals, infrastructure and critical state-of-good-repair work. The proposed Port Authority investment will also catalyze billions of dollars of private sector investment at the airports by airlines, cargo companies, and other private sector participants.

“Our airports are invaluable regional assets that serve as linchpins of our regional economy, supporting nearly 600,000 jobs and generating about $85 billion in annual sales – numbers that grow every year along with passenger totals,” Foye said.

The Port Authority’s airport modernization program involves a series of major redevelopment projects:

  • Newark Liberty International Airport’s $2.3 billion Terminal A Redevelopment Program, expected to deliver a new 33-gate passenger terminal, 3,000-space parking garage and related infrastructure improvements.
  • The LaGuardia Airport Redevelopment Program, including an innovative public-private partnership with LaGuardia Gateway Partners for a new Terminal B with a total design-build fixed cost of $4 billion – the largest public-private partnership in the country.
  • Replacement of Terminals C and D at LaGuardia Airport, financed primarily by Delta Air Lines at an estimated cost of $4 billion overall, with a Port Authority capped contribution of $600 million primarily towards related infrastructure improvements.
  • The proposed capital plan includes a combined $2.5 billion towards a new LGA AirTrain and JFK Redevelopment.  A new LGA AirTrain would provide a rail transit link to LaGuardia, which remains the only major airport without a rail transit link.  JFK Redevelopment funding will enable a comprehensive, airport-wide redevelopment plan to accommodate expected growth by addressing terminals and their configurations; the airport’s roadway network; airport operations and delays; cargo operations; and increasingly crowded, congested, and unreliable transportation access to the airport.  The redevelopment plan follows the recent recommendations of Governor Cuomo’s Airport Advisory Panel to create a unified, world-class airport with improved access.
  • Additionally, the proposed capital plan includes funding for the $1.7 billion extension of the PATH system to Newark Liberty Rail Link Station, which will improve trans-Hudson rail transit access for airport customers in addition to regional commuters

Newark Airport’s Terminal A Redevelopment Project is expected to generate 9,000 jobs, $600 million in wages and $3.3 billion in economic activity over the life of the project, and the LaGuardia Airport Redevelopment Program is expected to support 18,200 jobs, generate $1.3 billion in wages and $5.2 billion in economic activity.

“Behind these remarkable numbers – more than 130 million people and more than two million tons of cargo on about 1.3 million annual flights – are the most talented airport professionals in the world,” Port Authority Aviation Director Huntley A. Lawrence said. “I thank our many partners in the private and public sector with whom we share our success, and our loyal customers who demand and deserve our best.”

Final official passenger numbers for 2016 will be published by the agency later this quarter.

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