JFK Runway Construction May Cause Traveler Headaches

Mar 2, 2017

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Many travelers wouldn’t say transiting through New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) is a great experience, even on a good day. Things tend to run smoothly when the weather’s good, but when irregular operations pop up, all bets are off.

For much of this year, you’ll simply have to cross your fingers and hope for the best when flying to or from JFK, due to a major runway construction project. JFK currently has four runways, but one of them — Runway 4R/22L — will be closed for rehabilitation construction until June 1. From then through September 4, it’ll only be closed from 12:00am to 7:00am while the taxiways are being worked on, but starting September 5, the runway be closed around the clock again until November 17, assuming everything goes according to plan. If the project runs into Thanksgiving, though, that would certainly be a whole new travel nightmare.

Though JFK has three other runways to work with, strong crosswinds could temporarily reduce traffic to two or even one runway during the construction project depending on the wind direction. Storms and low clouds routinely bring arrivals and departures to a crawl at JFK, with delays often lasting longer than two hours since air traffic control puts more distance than normal between the planes as they arrive and depart. In turn, because of the increased spacing, the airport can’t accommodate as many aircraft during these periods.

Whatever happens, just remember that things could be worse — hey, at least you’re not at LaGuardia (LGA), right?

Featured image courtesy of Dennis Jarvis via Flickr.

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