BIG Ap­ple Air

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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

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