Factors Affecting JFK, NY USA Airport Capacity

Factors Affecting JFK, NY USA Airport Capacity

Introduction and historical background

Being an international airport, JFK airport is located in the greatest city of the world: New York City. The airport is located in Queens County in Southeastern New York City, which is situated around 19 km from Lower Manhattan. The location of JFK makes it the busiest international passenger entryway in the United States. Similarly, JFK is regarded as the number one cargo entryway to the United States by value of consignments. Additionally, JFK serves as the base of operations supporting JetBlue Airways as well as a major International entry spot for Delta Air Lines. To crown it all, JFK is the least hub for all the American airlines. The size of the airport accommodates for the operation of ninety airlines operating out of JFK. The name of the airport takes after the 35th President of the United States. It is also operated by the New York and New Jersey Port Authority (JFK, 1997). The authority also manages Newark Liberty and La Guardia – two major airports in the Metropolitan area of New York.

From the historical perspective, the airport was initially known as Idlewild Airport – having displaced Idlewild Golf Course (Dempsey, 2000). In fact, it was anticipated as the reliever for the La Guardia Airport, which already showed signs of insufficiency in capacity as early as the 1930s. At the commencement of construction in 1943, an average of $ 60million was spent. However, only 1,000 acres of the site in Idlewild Golf Course was earmarked for the airport. As a sign of honor to Queens Resident who had commanded a Federalized National Guard unit, the project acquired the name Major General Alexander E. Anderson Airport. Major General Alexander had commanded in the Southern United States and died in the year 1942. Even after the change of the name in March 1948 by the New York City Council to ‘New York International Airport’, Idlewild still remained in common use. In 1947, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey leased the airport from the City of New York. The lease is still maintained to date. The airport received its first commercial flight on July 1, 1948. When Idlewild Airport was opened in 1948, the Port Authority disqualified all foreign airlines from using La Guardia (Butler, 2009). Thus, they were forced to move to the newly constructed airport. When the airport was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport in 1963, the reference as Idlewild stopped. The renaming took place only one month after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The relevance of the New York City is just unfathomable. Not only is it a financial capital of the United States but also an international capital of the world. The quality and diversity that New York City offers is just incomparable with any other city in the world. New York City serves as the as a center of the business and industry, the hub for fine arts, entertainment as well as fashion and headquarter to thousands of multi-national organizations. There are millions of people who are daily attracted to the financial as well as service-related activities on daily basis. The city is also a great destination for tourists as well as conference people. All of the visitors patronize the superb hotels, restaurants and theatres offered in the city. The significance of New York City gives John F. Kennedy International airport the great importance as the only international air transport network. On average, John F. Kennedy handles 350,000 flights each year (Cracchiolo, 2003). It also carries over 30 million passengers and about 12 million tones of cargo annually. A great contribution on towards the economic growth is attributed to John F. Kennedy International Airport. However, the contribution towards economic growth that JFK makes is seen along with the other Airports in within the Metropolitan of the New York City. In fact, John F. Kennedy International Airport provides direct jobs and indirect jobs totaling to about 37,000 and 207,700 respectively. It is also estimated that the airport generates an average of $6.6 billion in wages and salaries as well as $20.4 sales for the entire region.

Future forecasts and anticipated expansion of JFK

Forecasts and anticipations on future growth have been drawn concerning John F. Kennedy International Airport. The efforts made by the Federal Aviation Authority, it has been realized that John F. Kennedy International Airport can have a reduced level of delays as well as embrace an increased capacity by taking advantage of the existing level of technology (Butler, 2009). For instance, there were forecasts that JFK International Airport would be serving as many as 37 million passengers by 2003. Similarly, it has been forecasted that by the year 2013, about 45 million passengers would be served comfortably within a year. Nevertheless, there are various factors hampering the realization of the growth potential. For instance, ground access to, from and within the airport need to be improved. In response to the challenges facing the growth and expansion of John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), different economic, technical as well as environmental consultants has carried out an intense analysis for an access project of the airport. This is aimed at putting a reduction on automobile trips to JFK, provision of a reliable, safe and reasonable environmentally alternative (Cracchiolo, 1998). The project is also expected to improve intra-airport mobility.

Addition of new runway between two existing runways has been applauded as a major way of easing airport delays as well as increasing capacity. This is according to a new study by the Reason Foundation (Butler, 2009). The study reveals that in spite of the additional new runway, which is to be built between runways 4R and 4L, John F. Kennedy would still have greater runway spacing than San Francisco International Airport and Boston’s Logan International Airport, this being in relation to the separation between runways. As expressed by several parties, there would be such a great ease in New York travel delays with the implementation of the project. It is also a big challenge for the implementation of the available technology in solving some of the pressing issues in John F. Kennedy International Airport. In fact, the study clearly indicates that JFK International Airport uses an obsolete twentieth century technology (Dempsey, 2000). Therefore, adoption of new technologies, which are founded on GPS alongside advanced cockpit displays, will make the operation of closely spaced parallel runways safe, notwithstanding reduced visibility conditions.

Numerous technological improvements have been highlighted as needful and crucial for John F. Kennedy International Airport. The improvements have been termed as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s next generation initiatives. For a period spanning to more than the next two decades, the implementation of the projects is expected to refurbish the United States’ air-traffic control system. In fact, it is hoped that when some of the new systems are fully implemented, runway throughput will increase by about 50 percent for John F. Kennedy International Airport (Dempsey, 2000). On the other hand, the increase will be about 45 percent for the Newark Liberty International Airport. If the reduced spacing is also implemented in the LaGuardia, a 10 percent runway throughput is likely to be realized. There has been a trend toward a focus on the general improvement of today’s incapacitating delays in air travels and ignorance on the long-term capacity problems in the United State’s major airports. In spite of the troubles and problems associated with the current national air transport, air travel is expected to expand by 64 percent within 2005 and 2020. In total, United States’ airports are anticipated to handle approximately 1 billion passengers annually by 2015. Similarly, by 2025, eight of the United States’ largest metros areas: Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Francisco and San Diego are expected to require more airport capacity than they are currently (Cracchiolo, 2003). The need for the additional capacity cannot be adequately served by the current technology and procedures.

Critical evaluation of the Physical design of JFK International Airport                                               

John F. Kennedy has earlier been mentioned as the busiest International Airport in the globe. In spite of the intensity and greatness of the airport, there is an ever-increasing urge and need to make it capable of accommodating more services. To make it possible for the airport to accommodate more facilities on passenger travel, the physical design has to be re-structured. All the forecasts and anticipations about the growth and expansion of the airport can only be possible if relevant issues are addressed to the letter. All aspects of physical design of the airfield entail some important factors that include layout of the runway, taxiways, terminal design and passenger-processing points like check-in, security, retail, baggage reclaim as well as gates, stands and airside facilities. An in-depth analysis of the different aspects is discussed below.

Runway layout         

Applauds has been given to the Federal Aviation Administration from the Airports Council International- North America (ACI-NA). FAA has tirelessly devoted efforts to achieve congestion management in New York City area especially on the major airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport. As a first and critical requirement of congestion and delay ease in John F. Kennedy International Airport, a long history of initiatives towards the management of the situation exists. Nevertheless, there has been total inadequacy of the plans undertaken by the FAA to ease congestion and delay in both John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark. Currently, major urban airports are undergoing unprecedented upgrade as a result of the frequent operational saturation. In the case of John F. Kennedy International Airport, substantial increase in aircraft movement is being undertaken (Astholz, Sheftel & Harris, 2005). The changes being undertaken mainly entail several system changes. The changes have led to reduced separations between aircrafts, application of more additional parallels as well as clearly spelt terminal traffic. Remarkable achievements can be attributed to more intense and fine tuned improvements on new landing aid, reconfiguration of the runway designs, and application of flight control equipment of highest quality as well as provision of ground-air-ground data links. Similarly, the best traffic surveillance flow and monitoring need to be used. With the use of the new features, John F. Kennedy can be completely retrofitted (Astholz, Sheftel & Harris, 2005). New landing flexibilities are successful in reducing noise pollution as it allows for the flight path geometries. There is a separation standard for runway layout. Thus, the increase suggested on the existing single runway does not jeopardize on the standards. With the introduction of improved guidance, single runway layout is therefore possible to be more than doubled (Astholz, Sheftel & Harris, 2005).

Taxiways rehabilitation                                        

Just as capacity improvement has been realized through the introduction of improved guidance, taxiways are also dependent on improved guidance, flight control, automation on the traffic control as well as improvements on surveillance (Donohue, 2001). In fact, the most critical factor to address towards improvement of taxiways is the adoption of an appropriate and efficient Airport acreage utilization through closer spacing of IFR independent runways. Diverse projects have been undertaken to solve the problem of congestion in John F. Kennedy International Airport. Most of the projects undertaken have a specific of multivariate of issues to tackle or bring about improvements. This is to say there are projects undertaken in John F. Kennedy International Airport that automatically acquire the level of being mega-projects. For instance, the JJFK AirTrain Megaproject has served extensively towards the ease of congestion within John F. Kennedy International airport. Besides being a connecting terminal within the airport, it offers public transportation to the greatest airport in the United States and the world as a whole (JFK, 1997).

The consideration of the AirTrain as a mega-project is the fact that the project solves several issues that would hamper airport capacity. Majority of the AirTrain passengers would obtain access to the regional transport system either by walking or taxi use, subway or by bus. Notwithstanding the means used, the application of the AirTrain as the sole access channel would be effected (Queens Gazette, 2009). The AirTrain is compatible with the current MTA Systems. Actually, the design of the AirTrain is suitable for baggage storage as well as baggage cart movement. It also facilitates provision of crucial airport information as well as presents the image of the foremost service on signature. Rehabilitation of the taxiways is likely to present a major reduction in the wastages of time for travelers. For a long period of time, travelers have decried the intense time wastage undergone in the airport. Due to the frustrating delays encountered, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey contracted Tully to make additions of essential taxiway and runways (Tully Construction Company International, 2009). Due to the criticality of the project, it has been characterized with fast tracking of every stage to ensure high priority as well as adherence to the deadlines set strictly. Extension, widening of the existing taxiways will improve airplane traffic movement. It will also facilitate the construction of a new holding pad for the departures on the aircraft. Normally, ground traffic has been known to cause delays and congestion. However, with the advancement of the taxiways, the congestion is expected to be completely solved.



Stands, airside facilities and terminal design                                                                                                        

The improvements made on John F. Kennedy International Airport are basically meant to ease the current situation that seems unfriendly to the travelers. The decrease on the capacity, which seems to have been caused by the increased needs for traveling, can be improved. This is only possible in the presence of a well-structured improvement program that takes into account different projects (Goldstein & Barber, 2001). Expansion of the airport capacity makes it easy and efficient for the passengers to make use of the facilities within it. There are a number if issues that need to be effectively tackled to facilitate the best use of the airport facilities. As seen through the inclusion of projects aimed at reducing all form of congestion, access to other facilities becomes possible. Being under the operation of the New York and New Jersey since June 1 1947, JFK International Airport has seen different projects being undertaken to improve the existing conditions. JFK International airport boasts of facilities made available by the management in order to create bearable conditions for the travelers. To increase the ease of accessibility to the facilities in the airport, they are all located at all the different available terminals (American Association of Civil Engineers, 2005).

There are about nine terminals within the John F. Kennedy International Airport (DiscoverAbroad.com, 2001). At each respective terminal, some important facilities for the travelers are provided. In spite of the fact that most common facilities are available in virtually all the nine terminals, some facilities are found exclusively in specific terminals and not others. An overview of each of the terminals shows the kind of facilities available at each particular terminal. In terminal 1, there are certain facilities provided. The facilities are restaurants, duty free shops, cafeteria, lounges, coffee house, hotel reservations as well as currency exchange facilities. A look into the terminal number 2 indicates that the facilities provided are restaurants, travel insurance, cafeteria, duty free shops as well as currency exchange services. Services provided in terminal 3 are restaurants, gift shops, coffee house, cafeteria, food joints, hotel reservations as well as currency exchange (Houston Business Journal, 2003).

Terminal 4 has almost a similar range of facilities as the other terminals. It offers restaurants, gift shops, coffee house, cafeteria, lounges, hotel reservations, and cyber café as well as currency exchange facilities. A number of facilities are also offered in the terminal 5: duty free shops, lounges, hotel reservations, currency exchange, travel insurance, gift shops and restaurants. The terminal 6 probably offers the least number of facilities: restaurants, lounges and gift shops. Similar to terminal 6, terminal 7 also does not provide a wide collection of facilities. It only offers gift shops, duty free shops as well as sports shops. Terminal 8 contains a wide range of facilities to the passengers: restaurants, gift shops, lounges, hotel reservations and currency exchange, duty free shops, and travel insurance. In the ninth terminal, there are a number of facilities that travelers enjoy. These include restaurants, gift shops, duty free shops, hotel reservations, currency exchange, lounges and travel insurance. In addition to the facilities provided in all the nine terminals, similar facilities are offered in the Tower Air (Houston Business Journal, 2003). The ranges of facilities provided are restaurants, duty free shops, lounges, hotel reservations, gift shops, and travel insurance.

Passenger processing points as check-in, security, retail, baggage reclaim and gates 

A number of modifications vital for efficient service rendered to the passengers are imperative. The design of the JetBlue Terminal is actually dependent on the passenger flow (Thomas et al, 2003). Many AirTrain passengers arrive at the terminal mostly from the north side. The arrival is reflected in the asymmetrical design of the terminal allowing accommodation of different loadings in the building. Traditionally, a cathedral-like ticketing hall and check-in area, the JetBlue Terminal is low profile resulting to lower costs. Less time is anticipated to be consumed in the area than in most other terminal handling within the airport. As an improvement to passenger check-in, electronic system will be enhanced. This will lead to even shorter queue times than ever before. There is a reservation for the grand space for concessions area. This will have its retail outlets that will lower at the departure gate. With the implementation of the plan, a sequence of surroundings will be created to enable passengers instinctively grasp their locations within the airport, that is, where they are heading to as well as when they arrived. The reserved concessions area will obviously contain hold several retail outlets. The common zone will form the passage for all outbound as well as arriving passengers (Berger Group, 2000). To reduce time wastage and inter-mingling further, concession stands will be situated on the right hand side of the departing passengers. For the arriving passengers, who are generally more interested in locating toilets, the stands will the positioned on their right hand side. This is as they move in the opposite direction with the departing lots. All these improvements will eventually improve on the safety.

Discussion of the location and environmental factors                                            

John F. Kennedy International Airport is affected to some extent by its location and the environmental factors. At its location, John F. Kennedy International Airport has to comply with several operational management practices concerning the environment. There is need to comply with the requirements of the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) program. The Port Authority of the New York and the New Jersey (PANYNJ) is the sole regulator of all airport activities within New York. Thus, John F. Kennedy directly falls in the management of PANYNJ (Zhou & Levy, 2009). The administration along with JFK tenants collaborate to ensure that consistent and effective practices are implemented towards the management of the quality of storm water runoff. There are a number of practices and activities within JFK airport that result to potential pollutants. These need to be identified and effective and best management controls implemented in order to quell them. Similarly, there are best management programs that reduce and eliminate the pollutants that gained access to the storm-water drainage system (Principato, McElroy & Scott, 2008). The existence of airport rules and regulations is an addition towards proper management of the environment through reduction of pollution. As a result, all practicable best management practices must be observed by the tenants. This includes conforming to PANYNJ Airport rules and regulations. All the requirements of PANYNJ also pertain to contractor, occupant and tenant activities. However, tenants are obliged to consult legal counsel for legal advice.

Consideration of the landside access to the airport  

A horde of issues relate to the environmental aspects. In the contexts of the available information about John F. Kennedy International Airport, analysis is based on the relevance of significance in relation to the environmental consideration. Delving into the factors relating to the landside access to the airport does not dismiss the other environmental factors. However, it is a major factor that would have extensive implications on the airport capacity as well as any anticipated expansion. The landside access to the airport provides a perfect opportunity for the continued expansion of the airport (Arema, 1999). In consideration of the different means of access to the airport such as roads and rail links, dramatic improvements have been recommended. The impacts of the expansion of the links to the airport can lead to some level of expansion on the airport capacity. Being the New York City’s international gateway, John F. Kennedy International Airport is well served with a distinct network of links to facilitate the accessibility of the airport. With its location of approximately 16 miles from Manhattan, it is a major facility providing air transportation network (McNerney, 2003). The significance of the activities carried out in the airport is seen in through the extensive economic enhancement and facilitation through the airport.

With the development of diverse facilities and opportunities, there have been drastic improvements on the landside accessibility to the airport. For instance, as earlier mentioned, the megaproject on AirTrain would facilitate intense and efficient movement of passengers from any the different locations. Fort instance, the budget travelers who are unwilling to carry their own luggage get to enjoy the facilities offered by the new AirTrain in John F. Kennedy International Airport. In any case, New York City has an extensive public transit network that smoothly allows movement of passengers (Arema, 1999.). For example, there is a great convenience for the visitors as they try access Manhattan from John F. Kennedy International Airport. In fact, the visitors spend about $7 and within just an hour to access any of the destinations from either of the two. As a matter of fact, there is a great enhancement of the airport’s capacity with the advancement of the landslide access. A further elaboration of the JFK AirTrain airport entails the access system interfaces that the AirTrain links; two regional transit systems are linked. Through the linkage of the existing transit systems: long Island Railroad (LIRR) found at the Jamaica Station Complex as well as  below the New York City Transit System (NYCT) railroad Complex (Berger Group, 2000). This is the famous Sutphin Boulevard Station. Similarly, the AirTrain interferes with the NYCT Howard Beach Station subway. This is directly adjacent to JFK airport perking lot.

As the interfaces advances, there is a linkage of more than ten out of total eleven LIRR branches. These are A., E., J. and Z.; all train services and bus routes within the NYCT. Two viable inter-modal connections to the patrons of the AirTrain are provided in this master plan (Harris, 2000). The patrons thus enjoy the connections as they arrive from the Manhattan, the four boroughs of New York, the JFK airport and the Long Island. The ease in the airport accessibility can therefore be a challenge of the past. For example, a passenger using the AirTrain and departing Manhattan from Penn Station through the LIRR, accesses the AirTrain terminal though the Jamaica Station. The passenger transfers to the AirTrain System and eventually accesses the airport’s Central Terminal Area (CTA) within a matter of 8 minutes. When the total length of time spent for the entire journey is calculated, it is realized that it takes 40 minutes. Similarly, if another passenger takes the NYCT .A. train from Manhattan downtown, he arrives at the AirTrain Terminal at Howard Beach Station. Thereafter, the passenger transfers to the AirTrain System. Arrival in the CTA also takes 8 minutes. However, the trip takes 70 minutes (Upham et al, 2003).

Effects of privatization and deregulation of airport development and planning                                                    

Change of entity ownership and regulation has diverse impacts on the development and planning. Following the trend in the world on airport privatization, the Congress of the United States advised the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct a test of the same. The expectation that the increased public interests in the airport meant that such it would be impossible to privatize airports wholly. Besides, airports pose a high potential of a monopoly. They are also very crucial assets to the community. In order to facilitate privatization projects of the airports, substantial regulation of the private investors with all the full details of the design and nature of services are undertaken (The Port Authority of NY & NJ, 2009). Similarly, limits on the extent of prices that can possibly be charged need to be effectively and clearly shown. Equally important, there is a clear address on the level of openness that the users need to acquire from the private owners. There are several lessons that can be clearly obtained from the experience of worldwide airport privatization. To start with, the United States leads in the practice of privatizing its airports. In fact, the scope of privatization in the United States is the smallest compared to elsewhere in the world. The second lesson learned from the practice of airport privatization in the world is that even after the privatization process has been implemented, all major aspects concerning the operation remains within the control of the government (Neufville, 1999).

The government represents the interests of the public; it is there to ensure that the interests of the public are protected at all times. To guard and protect the interests of the public, all the actions of the private sector need to be regulated effectively. Therefore, there can never be a full private control on airports. Thirdly, there is a possibility that the process of privatization will take a very long period of time before it is fully implemented. Considerable and sometimes complex negotiations are undertaken between the stakeholders who at times do not obtain solutions to the multivariate complex issues. Nevertheless, it is a fundamental requirement that the government sustains the interests of the public as far as the airport is concerned (Neufville, 1999). Some of the basic interests that need to be held concerns open access to the airport as well as fair rates when obtaining airport services. There are various privatization contracts that have so far been experienced in the United States. The aspects of the privatization in the United States addresses how the organization of the shared partnerships. Thus it is clearly demonstrated the nature of partnerships that need to be in existence between the public and the private owners of the airport.

The privatization of John F. Kennedy International Airport falls under the “Build and operate contract”. This type of privatization contract entails typically developing projects through long-term contracts like 25 years. The facilities are used by the contractor on general terms. Being a very crucial airport, the only suitable privatization contract for John F. Kennedy International Airport would thus only be of this nature. The future development of John F. Kennedy could only be facilitated though effective privatization. JFK International Airport is in a metropolitan region of New York City. Therefore, it faces a rapid need for development through implementation of appropriate plans. As a result of this need, there has been an increased dualism in relation to the administrative space and the economic capability within the region. As observed by Friedmann (1995), there has been a rapid growth of social schizophrenia as a result of the double covering. Similarly, regional societies and the local institutions have had to implement different strategies relating to rules and regulations as well as the operations pertaining to the economic system adopted in the International level.

The growth and development of John F. Kennedy International Airport has thus been facilitated though the privatization and deregulation (Harris, 2000). As the need for the capacity enhancement of the airport increased, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey undertook further development plans. Subsequent to the leasing of John F. Kennedy International Airport from the City of New York in 1947, development plans towards extensive expansion were initiated. The continued maintenance of the Lease by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey can be attributed to the growth that has so far been recorded. Right from the acquisition of the airport by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, plans to develop a single 55-gate terminal. However, major airports were against the plan, as intense growth would be anticipated.


It is apparent that JFK International Airport has had an extensive exposure to different levels of development. The different factors affecting the expansion of JFK, NY USA Airport capacity have been addressed to some reasonable extent. As result, the airport has extensively advanced to facilitate better conditions for the passengers. The New York cosmopolitan and its location have led to the increased expansion of JFK International Airport. From a critical evaluation of the JFK airfield physical design, different facilities relating to the growth have been modified to suit passenger requirement and needs. The impact of all the design enhancements on the airport capacity has facilitated the increase need for airport capacity. The environmental, ownership and economic factors affecting the growth of the airport relate to the implementation of rightful plans for development. The analysis of the issues affecting the growth of the airport also addresses the importance of the ownership and deregulation. The expansion of the landslide access to the airport affects the length of time that travelers take to gain entry into the airport.













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