Takeoff queues at JFK will get shorter, beginning this weekend
The third-longest runway at New York’s JFK airport will reopen this weekend after seven months of reconstruction costing $355 million. The runway handles roughly one-third of all arrivals into JFK, so this means a major easing of air-traffic congestion at the busiest airport in the U.S. by international traffic.
What’s more, runway 13L/31R will reopen right on schedule on Saturday, according to an email from a spokesperson at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates JFK as well as LaGuardia and Newark airports.
The runway, 10,000 feet long, has been repaved and widened by 33%, and has had new lights, signs and navigational aids installed. It’s mostly used for landings. The new pavement is concrete, replacing asphalt, which will result in a longer operational life of up to 40 years instead of 8 to 12 for asphalt, according to the Port Authority.
Runway 13L/31R runs along the length of the arrow in the image below. Most landings on it occur towards the northwest, in the direction of the arrow, towards 310 degrees on the compass. Its numbering does not mean that there are 31 runways at JFK, which has in fact four. It means that it is oriented towards 310 degrees at one end, and 130 on the other. JFK has two sets of two parallel runways, with the L and R letters indicating which one of two runways with the same orientation is on the left and which on on the right.
In the image below, runway 13L/31R appears dark, since it was still paved with asphalt at the time the satellite took the shot. Two of the four runways are already paved in concrete, which looks lighter, leaving only one runway to be repaved. The Port Authority has not announced when that project might be scheduled.
When landings on 13L/31R occur in the opposite direction from the usual, they follow an approach path known to pilots as the “Canarsie Approach,” involving a steep turn at low altitude over the Brooklyn neighborhood of that name. It’s one of the more challenging approaches to a major commercial airport in the U.S. — you can read more for a technical analysis of the reasons.
To see takeoff queues actually get shorter, though, flyers may have to wait until Sunday. According to an official at the Port Authority, the expected direction of the wind on Saturday will preclude use of the two parallel 13/31 runways, since airplanes take off and land into the wind.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees