General Business

Region’s Airports Set Records For Passenger Activity in Summer 2019

The Port Authority announced that the region’s major commercial airports – John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, and LaGuardia – handled record-setting passenger levels this summer, with 43.9 million passengers served between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

During the summer timeframe, which continued 2019’s monthly pattern of record-breaking passenger growth, JFK handled a record 20.4 million passengers and EWR handled a record 14 million passengers. LGA served a record 9.4 million passengers during the 14-week period – including eight of the twelve busiest days in the airport’s history – between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend.

In addition to handling the record number of passengers who traveled through the agency’s airports this summer, the Port Authority has pursued sweeping initiatives focused on improving customer experience. These initiatives include:

  • Inaugurated across the board upgrades to more than 300 airport restrooms with vastly intensified cleaning regimes with feedback devices for customers to rate the restrooms; one new bathroom at LaGuardia ranked as one of the top 10 public bathrooms in the U.S.;
  • Opened 27 nursing suites for mothers on the go and added family-friendly products and services;
  • Initiated an ambitious concession improvement program that added new, local, high-quality dining options like Osteria Fusco, Shake Shack, and Kingside Diner at LGA, the Paris Café and Food Hall featuring the Halal Guys, Empanada Republic, Fresh&Co and Playa Bowls inside the newly restored TWA Hotel at JFK, and Piattino and Carlos Bakery at EWR;
  • Partnered with At Your Gate to provide app-based food delivery service to customers waiting at their gates;
  • Rolled out a new fleet of 18 electric buses to cut noise and air pollution for passengers and local community;
  • Created new, mobile-friendly airport websites and included real time information on security line wait times, taxi line wait times, and parking availability by specific, individual parking lots to enable passengers to better plan their trip;
  • Improved taxi dispatch at all three airports to shorten taxi lines;
  • At long last provided free, easy-to-access and fast Wi-Fi speeds that placed all three airports in the top 30 U.S. airports and ranked LGA as the 13th fastest.
  • Made enhancements to interior wayfinding, navigational, and construction-related signage;
  • Launched a mobile-friendly airport lost and found website for the Port Authority’s commercial airports;

Because of that focus, John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports were accredited by Airports Council International (ACI), the global airport association, for the breadth of their customer experiences initiatives. Along with San Antonio International Airport and San Francisco International Airport, the Port Authority’s airports are three of only five U.S. airports to receive the ACI accreditation.

“The airport customer experience initiatives underscore our commitment to enhancing the travel experience for all Port Authority customers, whether it’s better amenities and digital innovation at our airports, or more customer-friendly services at our bridges, tunnels and PATH,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole.  “Our facilities are focused on achieving these improvements while handling record passenger levels and advancing major redevelopment projects at our airports. These combined ambitions are a testament to the hard-working employees of the Port Authority and our private-sector partners.”

“Our airports serve a wide range of passengers with high expectations of what a 21st century airport experience should be,” said Executive Director Rick Cotton. “As we advance a $30 billion investment program to rebuild our legacy airports to meet 21st century standards, we are totally committed in parallel to move up the curve to provide best-in-class customer experience. While we have a long way to go, we are starting to see the green shoots of early progress in improving customer experience.”

ACI’s Airport Customer Experience Accreditation framework was developed to recognize and promote service excellence through a common definition of customer experience management.

Separately, Ookla, an independent company that rates Internet connectivity speed and performance, released its rankings of the fastest airport Wi-Fi speeds, noting dramatically improved download speeds – up to 178 percent faster than last year – at each of the region’s major airports. JFK, EWR, and LGA each ranked in the top 30 airports in the U.S and Canada for fast Wi-Fi with LGA coming in 13th.

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