The New York Post reports that over the next several months, air travelers can expect to wait longer — and pay more — to fly to and from JFK Airport after its main runway is shut down for extensive repairs.
The Queens air-traffic hub — already near the bottom of the barrel for on-time performance — is expected to face delays of what critics warn will be “multiple hours,” as planes are diverted to three smaller runways at the Queens facility. And passengers will have to dig deeper to afford the higher ticket prices that the airlines will likely charge to make up for temporarily cutting about 10 percent of their flights into and out of JFK. Adding insult to injury, the carriers are building in time to their schedules so that longer-than-normal trips won’t technically arrive “late.”
The shutdown will allow workers to tear up the 14,572-foot Bay Runway and replace its asphalt surface with more-durable concrete. The runway — which normally handles a third of JFK’s traffic and half of all departures — will also be widened to accommodate new, extra-jumbo jets as part of the $376 million project.
Year-over-year fare increases can already be seen on some of the airport’s most popular routes, including flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- Speaking of JFK Airport, the AP reports that in February, a child apparently directed pilots from the air traffic control center. Audio clips from mid-February — during a week-long winter break for many New York schoolchildren — were posted online recently where a child can be heard on the tape making five transmissions to pilots preparing for takeoff. In one exchange, the child can be heard saying, “JetBlue 171 contact departure.” The pilot responds: “Over to departure JetBlue 171, awesome job.” The child appears to be under an adult’s supervision, because a male voice then comes on and says with a laugh, “That’s what you get, guys, when the kids are out of school.” In another exchange, the youngster clears another plane for takeoff, and says, “Adios, amigo.” The pilot responds in kind.
- Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who deftly landed a US Airways plane in the Hudson River last year, retired today after 30 years with the airline. His last flight was scheduled to arrive in Charlotte, N.C., from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., shortly after 3 p.m. ET today. Meanwhile, Doreen Welsh, a flight attendant on Capt. Sully’s historic splash-landing, also retired today from US Airways after four decades of service. Congrats to both Capt. Sully and Doreen.
- The TSA is re-evaluating a technology that aims to take one of the biggest hassles out of airport security: removing your shoes at a checkpoint. The USA Today reports that a dozen companies have designed shoe scanning machines, and the TSA says it plans to buy 100 of the devices by next year. The machines, which find metal weapons and explosives in shoes, didn’t pass muster in tests three years ago. The developers of the latest generation of the machines promise better results, and the TSA says the technology will improve security.
Shoes… er, hats off to this new technology!