BIG Apple Air
If the entire NewYork aviation market were served by a single airport, it would be the busiest in the US, hosting some 116 million passengers in 2014. (By contrast, Atlanta welcomed a mere 96 million). The mythical one NewYork airport would also easily vault past Chicago O’Hare as the airport with the most take-offs and landings – over 1.2 million operations annually.
Of course, as most business travelers know, NewYork is served by not one, but several airports, the best-known and largest three of which are John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia. And, as most business travelers into the city also know, all three typically rate among the least favorite airports in the world among fliers of all stripes. In fact, LaGuardia – which Vice President Joe Biden once famously compared to“some third-world country”– consistently ranks at the bottom of the list of US airports.
But let’s be fair. NewYork’s airports have been a cornerstone of the US commercial aviation system for most of the industry’s 100-year history. They were all designed and constructed decades prior to the Jet Age, at a time when planes were a lot smaller, as were passenger numbers – and their expectations.
The irony is that NewYork’s airports are in a way victims their own success, and the success of the national aviation system they serve. Three airports that were state-of-the-art in the 1930s and 40s have helped create burgeoning demand for air travel into the Big Apple, and now the city is finding that mapping out reasonable alternatives is far more complicated and cost-prohibitive than in years gone by.
However that is not stopping the Port Authority of NewYork and New Jersey and the politicians in Albany from trying. In January 2014, NewYork Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that management