View Full Version : Airport Performance Up in the Air

November 21st, 2005, 07:54 AM
Airport performance up in the air


November 20, 2005, 8:36 PM EST

The region's three major airports are popular with the world's busiest travelers but when it comes to touching down and taking off, they're anything but world class, a new study shows.

"They should be world-class airports but they're not functioning as world-class airports," said Sen. Charles Schumer, who released the findings Sunday.

Schumer said LaGuardia, Kennedy International and Newark International have the worst record for on-time arrivals out of the nation's 33 busiest airports.

The poor record marked the first time the three airports are the worst in the country for late arrivals, Schumer said.

The data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, according to Schumer, show that 33 percent of flights to LaGuardia between January and September 2005 were late. It earned the second to last spot, one spot lower than in 2004.

Kennedy saw 30 percent of flights arrive late, placing it 31st of 33. Newark ranked last with 34 percent of arrivals late.

Greg Martin, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the bureau's data don't tell the complete picture about delays. One problem is bad weather, which creates delays aimed at safety that can't be avoided. He also said the FAA has recently increased the air space on popular routes around New York to reduce traffic.

"We increased the number of oceanic routes, which we believe will reduce delays significantly during the peak winter travel periods between New York and Florida," he said. "In fact, it's likely that we will keep those additional lanes open throughout the year."

Even mildly poor weather that doesn't rise to severe, such as poor visibility, can have a ripple effect on national travel, Martin said.

For example, if a flight crew and flight attendants are delayed for any reason, workers may not allowed to hop on a new flight to work, given strict rules about rest.

Schumer said the flights can only blame a portion of their late arrivals and departures on bad weather. He said the ways FAA and air traffic controllers manage air traffic, as well as heavy volume and airport operations, contribute to the problem.

"This hurts New York," Schumer said, adding that slow airports discourage tourists and businesses. "When people know they have a long wait they're less inclined to come here and do business."

Martin pointed that last month, the FAA widened the air space in the area, which he predicts will improve traffic.

Outbound flights also don't fare well, Schumer said.

The survey showed that one out of four JFK outbound flights leaving from Kennedy for Los Angeles were delayed and 31 percent of flights to Ft. Lauderdale were late. Outbound LaGuardia planes to Atlanta and to Raleigh-Durham were delayed 31 percent of the time, the numbers show.

Copyright © 2005, Newsday, Inc. (http://www.nynewsday.com/)

November 21st, 2005, 07:58 AM
Study: City's Airports Have Worst Record for Delays in Nation

BY GREGORY BENSINGER - Special to the Sun
November 21, 2005
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/23323

Travelers using any of New York's three metropolitan airports this holiday season can expect more delays, more often, than travelers using any other major airport in the nation, according to a study released yesterday by Senator Schumer.

The senator called upon the FAA and the Bush administration to combat the delays, which he said are "much worse than in the rest of the country."

Mr. Schumer said the metropolitan area's three airports hold the nation's poorest on-time performance record. Between January and September of this year, about 30% of flights to Kennedy were delayed. About 32% of flights to La Guardia were delayed during the same period. Newark Liberty, with more than one in three flights delayed, has the lowest on-time rate among the nation's 33 busiest airports, the senator said. Philadelphia's airport was the fourth worst, with a 29% on time record.
All three New York area airports had a greater likelihood of delays in 2005 than in 2004.

Salt Lake City's airport ranked highest for on-time performance this year among the 33 busiest, with 16% of flights delayed.

"This is one place you don't want New York to be first in, but we are," Mr. Schumer said at a press conference at his office in Manhattan on the eve of the busy Thanksgiving travel week. "You just can't tolerate these kind of delays."

A spokesman for the Port Authority, which operates the three New York area airports, said some delays were unavoidable because of the sheer concentration of flights in and out of the area. "Three airports being so close together is a situation you'll find nowhere else in the country," Marc Lavorgna said. "And our air travel numbers are skyrocketing."

"We are doing everything we can to make the airports as efficient as possible," he said.

Mr. Schumer said he would be pressing for steps to combat the delays, including requesting funds for a new control tower at La Guardia, which could lighten delays. He also called on the FAA to expedite a planned redesign of the airspace over New York, as well as implement new runway monitoring technology at area airports.

An FAA spokesman, Greg Martin, said the agency hoped to equip New York area airports with such monitoring technology within 18 months, though he said he doubted the technology would reduce delays. "The runway monitoring technology is primarily a safety measure," he said, noting it is designed to prevent runway collisions. "It wouldn't really have any effect on delays."

Mr. Martin said the FAA was "moving forward fairly aggressively" to finalize a redesign of New York's airspace, noting that the agency last month added new routes over the Atlantic Ocean for flights between New York and Florida, a heavily trafficked route during the holiday season.

Mr. Martin said he had not had time on Sunday to review Mr. Schumer's findings, but he said that some delays at every airport were unavoidable because of factors such as weather and flight rerouting.

The Newark Star-Ledger reported over the weekend that the Port Authority had formed a task force after three recent security breaches at Newark Liberty airport made public last week. In the past six weeks, a passenger was allowed to board a plane without a ticket; Continental Airlines acknowledged loading checked baggage without screening for explosives, and a drunk driver was waved through a security checkpoint without authorization, the newspaper said.

The Port Authority announced it had formed a task force that will meet weekly over the next three months to strengthen anti-terrorism measures at Newark. "We don't anticipate delays as a result of any new security measures," Mr. Lavorgna said. "But, I don't think anyone would be upset if things were slower at the airports due to new security measures."

November 21, 2005 Edition >

October 23rd, 2007, 05:48 AM
Queens: Proposed Flight Limits Criticized

By KEN BELSON (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/ken_belson/index.html?inline=nyt-per)

Published: October 23, 2007
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/port_authority_of_new_york_and_new_jersey/index.html?inline=nyt-org) said yesterday that the Federal Aviation Administration’s proposal to reinstate limits on flights at Kennedy International Airport would interfere with growth in the region and do nothing to ease the congestion and delays that have plagued the airport for the past year. The Port Authority, which owns the three major New York area airports, said that cutting the maximum number of flights at Kennedy to 80 an hour, as the F.A.A. (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/f/federal_aviation_administration/index.html?inline=nyt-org) proposed last week, would mean turning away about 10,000 passengers a day. Airlines, federal aviation officials and the Port Authority have been trying to address delays at Kennedy, which have increased substantially since flight limits were lifted at the beginning of 2007.

October 23rd, 2007, 05:56 AM
I suppose the three and half hours I had sitting on the runway, while trying to leave on my last visit, just increased.
They board you at the correct time, in fact they rush you to get on the aircraft, because the airport could not possibly handle thousands of irate passengers. Once you're on board they have you captive. I have never seen so many aircraft, nose to tail, waiting to get away.

The only thing I can say. New York was worth it.

October 24th, 2007, 04:00 AM
Government Asks Airlines to Ease J.F.K. Congestion

By MATTHEW L. WALD (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/w/matthew_l_wald/index.html?inline=nyt-per)

Published: October 24, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 — The United States Department of Transportation (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/t/transportation_department/index.html?inline=nyt-org) opened negotiations on Tuesday with 14 major domestic airlines about reducing traffic at Kennedy International Airport, in a combination of cooperation and threat.
A poster in the conference room warned the airline representatives that it was illegal for them to discuss schedules, markets served or prices in earshot of one another, and antitrust lawyers from the Justice Department were present to observe, participants said.
After a pep talk by the secretary of transportation, Mary E. Peters, and the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, Bobby Sturgell, the airline executives were taken to separate rooms and brought back one by one to talk to government officials about their schedules.
At some hours, Kennedy has more than 100 scheduled arrivals and departures. The F.A.A. (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/f/federal_aviation_administration/index.html?inline=nyt-org) said the airport actually handled 80 or 81 per hour this summer, which is the maximum the Transportation Department wants the airlines to schedule.
The airlines said Kennedy could handle more with better equipment and procedures, and have complained that the department’s target number is too strict. Another problem is that some traffic may migrate to Newark, adding to delays there.
The government is hopeful it can get “voluntary” reductions, which would then be codified into a regulation. If the airlines do not “volunteer,” the government has said it could set quotas and assign slots. But, Ms. Peters said, “We have high hopes for market-based incentives.”
The D.O.T. has said it may order landing fees that vary by the hour as an incentive to move flights to off-peak periods. But Ms. Peters said, “We may very well need scheduling reductions to help solve congestion in the near term.”
The Bush administration has come to that point reluctantly, after concluding that delays in New York were triggering delays all over the country. Slot controls limit competition and give priority to “incumbent” carriers, those that are well established, and not to start-ups, Transportation Department officials say.
The airlines hate the idea of variable landing fees, and some government officials doubt they will work, because the price difference between landing peak and off-peak would come to a couple of dollars per passenger, or less. The Transportation Department says it has the authority to vary the fees, but only so they are “revenue neutral,” so the total amount collected by the airport does not change. The airlines say they will sue if it tries.
Ms. Peters told the airline representatives, “Publishing schedules that offer 61 departing flights between 8 and 9 a.m. — when the airport can handle only 44 departures — is not fair to fliers.”
Years-old federal controls on how many planes can use Kennedy ended on Jan. 1. Since then, traffic jumped 20 percent, according to the F.A.A., to 1,200 flights a day from 1,000. In August, it was 1,300 flights a day.
According to the F.A.A., one result is that there are 77.4 delays per 1,000 landings or takeoffs so far this year, continuing a steady rise — there were 20.9 in 2003, 27.5 in 2004, 39.6 in 2005 and 60.4 in 2006. The figures count only delays while a plane is in the air traffic control system; delays because of mechanical problems or because a plane arrived late from its previous leg are not included.
A negotiated settlement at O’Hare International Airport at the end of 2004 cut delays per 1,000 operations there to 52.7 in 2005 from 97.1 in 2004, but they rose to 68.5 in 2006. They are running slightly lower this year.
The Port Authority said Monday that the F.A.A. target would “simply cut flights and limit travelers’ options to pre-1969 levels.”
“If this limitation were in place at J.F.K. last year, the airport would have turned away nearly 3.4 million passengers, or 10,000 per day,” the Port Authority said in statement.

October 26th, 2007, 04:33 AM
New York
Manhattan: Flight Limits Opposed

Published: October 26, 2007
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/port_authority_of_new_york_and_new_jersey/index.html?inline=nyt-org) and a coalition of groups representing airlines, passengers and businesses will hold a news conference today to express their opposition to the Federal Aviation Administration’s proposal to reinstate limits on the number of flights at Kennedy International Airport. The groups fear that limiting flights at Kennedy to 80 an hour would slow economic growth in the region and would not ease the congestion and delays that have hurt the airport since flight limits were lifted at the beginning of this year. Representatives from the Air Transport Association, the Air Travelers Association and the Partnership for New York City will be among those speaking.

October 26th, 2007, 04:27 PM
Corzine, Spitzer oppose cap on flights at JFK

Friday, October 26, 2007
Star-Ledger Staff

Calling a cap on flights at John F. Kennedy International Airport "a crippling blow" for the region, the governors of New Jersey and New York yesterday sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters saying alternative measures must be found to reduce flight delays in the metropolitan area.

Govs. Jon Corzine and Eliot Spitzer also told Peters the plan to limit JFK's arrivals and departures to 80 flights per peak hour would worsen congestion at Newark Liberty International Airport. Currently, up to about 115 flights per peak hour can be accommodated at JFK.

"Capping flights would make it harder for every traveler to and from the New York Metropolitan Area to find the flights they need, which is especially troubling in a region like this one that depends heavily on truly globalized industries like finance and tourism to drive its economy," the governors wrote.

"If caps were put into place at Kennedy, Newark Airport would inevitably be flooded with excess flights pushed out of New York," they added.

Brian Turmail, a DOT spokesman, said caps at JFK are a "last choice" that must be explored to prevent a repeat next year of this summer's horrendous delays. He said federal aviation officials want to find "sustainable solutions," such as congestion pricing alternatives that will eliminate the prospect of mandatory caps.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the region's major airports, is making a concerted effort to kill the cap idea.

Earlier this week, the agency's chairman and executive director voiced opposition, and yesterday's gubernatorial letter was distributed to reporters by the agency. Additionally, the Port Authority plans to continue its opposition at a press event today with "a coalition representing airlines, passenger advocates and business and tourism groups."

The agency estimates it would lose approximately $20 million in passenger fees if the proposal passes, but officials point out that that is a mere fraction of the nearly $2 billion annually pulled in at the region's three major airports. Alternatives preferred by the agency include fast-tracking implementation of high-technology air traffic control equipment that can move planes more efficiently.

October 26th, 2007, 08:32 PM
If we got high speed rail between Manhattan and Stewart/Newburg, I think we'd have a solution. It would also allow airlines that focus on fringe airports, like Southwest, a way to increase their presence in the northeast.

We need another airport - its that simple.

October 29th, 2007, 08:53 AM
Posted: Monday, 29 October 2007 7:31AM

Port Authority Taking Over Stewart Airport Ops

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (AP) -- The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey takes over operation of Stewart International Airport in the lower Hudson Valley this week.

Big changes are planned at the airfield. Among other things, the Port Authority plans to improve road access, add more parking, and bring in more first-rate carriers that will bring in as many passengers as possible.

Port Authority spokesman Marc La Vorgna says the overriding goals are to provide a first-class airport for the Hudson Valley and create a relief valve for JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports.

As the largest airport operator in the country, the Port Authority is widely thought of as having the deep pockets and industry connections to fulfill those goals.

The Port Authority (http://www.panynj.gov/) has budgeted more than $17 million for improvements to roads, parking lots and runways.

November 21st, 2007, 06:41 AM
No Easy Solution for Congestion at J.F.K. Airport, Experts Say

By KEN BELSON (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/ken_belson/index.html?inline=nyt-per) and MATTHEW L. WALD (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/w/matthew_l_wald/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: November 21, 2007

It has become an agonizingly familiar formula for delays and frustration: high winds, rain and holiday crowds. And when those elements converge on Kennedy International Airport, as they do routinely at Thanksgiving time, the delays ripple out to airports across the region and often the nation, leaving millions of fliers angry.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/11/21/nyregion/21airport.650.jpgRichard Perry/The New York Times
David Gray, at the JetBlue operations center at Kennedy International Airport, guides planes to their assigned gates.

The logjams have become so bad in the past year that they have strained relations between the airlines and federal regulators, prompting President Bush to enter the fray. Last week, he said airlines could make fuller use of military airspace during the Thanksgiving holiday, a step that Mary E. Peters, the transportation secretary, likened to opening highway shoulders for traffic during rush periods.

But the gesture will ease congestion and cut delays only temporarily. Coming up with longer-term solutions may be as hard as getting a meal on a domestic flight, experts say. Many ideas now being discussed involve tinkering with air traffic patterns around Kennedy as well as at La Guardia and Newark Liberty International Airports, a complex process. As for the airlines, which are short on cash, they are only reluctantly offering to trim the number of flights, which could cut revenue.

Even the most draconian proposal — to reinstate flight limits to ease the bottlenecks at Kennedy — might backfire, industry analysts say, because airlines would end up shifting flights to Newark Airport, which is already strained.

“Kennedy is the perfect example of putting 10 pounds in a 5-pound bag,” said Darryl Jenkins, a longtime airline consultant. “J.F.K. was never set up to be a hub for anybody; its been a gateway,” he said. But in recent years it became a hub for JetBlue and Delta.

These days, delays at Kennedy are so bad, he said, that “it’s backing up the whole country.”

Compared with the last fiscal year, there were nearly four times as many ground delays, which occur when air traffic controllers limit inbound flights during inclement weather. Flights from the West Coast and overseas are exempt, but planes from cities like Boston and Buffalo must wait, sometimes for hours, before they can depart for New York.

Slowdowns have become a fixture at Kennedy since the beginning of the year, when Congress removed decades-old limits on how many planes could land there during peak afternoon and evening hours. After the caps were lifted, American, Delta and other airlines added dozens of flights, creating huge delays in New York and at other airports around the country. Almost every flight arriving late means that a subsequent flight leaves late, first from Kennedy and then from the flight’s destination airport.

In addition, the number of landings and takeoffs at Kennedy surged 20.5 percent in the last year, limiting the ability of air traffic controllers to handle flights at Kennedy as well as at other airports, the airlines say. Strained relations between the Federal Aviation Administration and air traffic controllers have further complicated matters.

As a result, Kennedy, which used to be rated the best of the three major airports in the New York region, is now considered the worst by some.

“We used to say, ‘Don’t fly to La Guardia or Newark,’ but now we’re seeing the same ground delays as those airports,” said Doug Brier, a supervisor in JetBlue’s operations center at Kennedy. “Since Jan. 1, we went from never seeing these delays to seeing them practically every day.”

It was not supposed to be this way. In 2000, when Congress approved lifting the limits on flights during peak hours at Kennedy, the airlines were expected to add only about 5 percent more flights between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

But the industry has changed considerably since then, as several airlines have emerged from bankruptcy protection and are eager to expand. To gain a better hold in New York, they added many flights that use smaller regional jets, which mix with the bigger planes. While big jets can follow each other at about three-mile intervals, smaller jets — vulnerable to the wake turbulence from large jets — must stay five miles or more behind, creating longer waits between takeoffs.

Seeking to reduce the delays, the Transportation Department convened meetings in October with the airlines and asked them to either reduce or alter their schedules. The progress of those talks is not clear to the participants, since the government meets separately with each airline, but those involved in the discussions say they do not think an agreement is imminent.

The Transportation Department says that if it cannot reach agreements by the end of the year, it might impose landing quotas.

That prospect has prompted Delta to voluntarily eliminate the use of all turboprop planes at Kennedy and to reduce the number of departures during peak afternoon hours. It also plans to set limits on how long planes can remain on taxiways awaiting takeoff before they must return to the gate.

(But in September, the airline also said it would add 14 international routes from Kennedy, starting next summer.)

Separately, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/port_authority_of_new_york_and_new_jersey/index.html?inline=nyt-org), which operates Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark, is expected to make 77 recommendations early next month that may include installing new surveillance technology on runways, taxiways and ramp areas so the Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines can better manage planes on the ground. The Port Authority also wants to build additional taxiways to handle more aircraft simultaneously and reduce waiting times for arriving and departing flights.

In addition, the Port Authority recently announced plans for a $500 million expansion of Stewart International Airport, 65 miles north of New York City, to siphon off some of the millions of passengers who live north of the city and now travel to one of the three metropolitan region airports, which handled 107 million passengers last year. But there need to be enough airlines at Stewart to make it a reasonable alternative.

“It’s a chicken or egg thing,” said Anthony Shorris, executive director of the Port Authority, which took over Stewart on Nov. 1. “You need the passengers to attract the airlines, and you need the airlines to attract the passengers.”

The track record for shifting traffic to distant airports is not great. In Boston, the Massachusetts Port Authority transformed Hanscom Field, a former Air Force base, so that it now handles most of the corporate planes that used to land at Logan International Airport. But Hanscom has not managed to attract many flights, in part because neighbors object to the noise.

In any event, developing Stewart will take three to five years, and the mounting delays at Kennedy demand attention now. On-time arrivals at Kennedy have plummeted to 60.9 percent so far this year, down 14 percent from the same period a year ago. On-time departures fell by 12.5 percent, to 66.9 percent.

Airlines, stung by reports of planes sitting for hours on taxiways, have made changes. JetBlue, which calls Kennedy home, began using a small parcel of land near one of its terminals to unload passengers when there are no gates available. The airline has already used it 270 times.

“I don’t want to keep people on planes more than is needed,” said Marisa Von Wieding, JetBlue’s operations director at Kennedy.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company.

November 23rd, 2007, 09:57 AM
Bigger planes, fewer flights.

November 23rd, 2007, 10:38 AM
Bigger planes, fewer flights.

Plus serious investment in the Northeast Corridor and Empire line, NY Penn-Boston South Station in 2.5 hours. NY Penn - Washington Union Station 1 hour forty five minutes. New York Penn-Albany 90 minutes.

November 23rd, 2007, 10:40 AM
New York Penn-Albany 90 minutes.
Make that 60.

December 19th, 2007, 11:08 AM
FAA may cap Newark flights to cut delays
Plan also seeks limits at JFK

Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Star-Ledger Staff

The Federal Aviation Administration today will propose capping peak-hour flights at both Newark Liberty International and John F. Kennedy International airports to help alleviate nightmare delays in the metropolitan region, government officials familiar with the announcement said.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell have a morning news conference planned in Washington, D.C., to unveil initiatives to tackle congestion at Newark Liberty, JFK and La Guardia airports, which often post the nation's worst aviation delays.

Flights at La Guardia already are capped and JFK flight restrictions have been expected, but introducing caps at Newark Liberty would add a new dimension for combating airline delays at the three airports, which served a combined record of more than 104 million fliers in 2006.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the three airports and has opposed caps at JFK, also is against them at Newark Liberty.

"We don't think caps are the solution," Anthony Coscia, the Port Authority chairman, said last night. "We think caps are a near-term way of avoiding dealing with the real problem of expanding capacity."

Newark Liberty is one of the nation's busiest airports, averaging about 1,200 flights per day and capable of handling more than 100,000 incoming and departing passengers on peak days, such as during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Through October of 2007, Newark Liberty ranked next to last of the nation's 32 major airports, with only 60 percent of flights arriving on time, according to federal records.

In addition to caps, federal officials are discussing other proposals for Newark Liberty and JFK. Those include appointing a so-called New York/New Jersey "airspace czar" to better coordinate flights in and out of the metropolitan area; studying the idea of auctioning preferred times for flights; and having airlines voluntarily move some peak-hour flights to off-peak hours at JFK.

Additionally, there is an expectation that military airspace will be made available to commercial airlines during the Christmas and New Year holiday season, as it was during Thanksgiving. Many in the aviation field said adding airspace helped reduce delays.

President Bush in September requested the plan Peters and Sturgell drafted for the metropolitan area after a summer of miserable delays in the skies and on the tarmac for fliers nationwide. Many in both government and the airline industry blamed much of the trouble on severe congestion at the three airports.

The government officials who spoke yesterday about the proposal to cap flights at Newark Liberty did so only on condition of anonymity because they did not want to overshadow today's announcement by Peters and Sturgell. They said they did not know the specific number of flights that might be allowed during peak hours at Newark Liberty if caps are imposed.

In recent months, FAA officials discussed capping flights at JFK to just more than 80 per hour, down from current levels that can exceed 100 per hour. La Guardia is now restricted to 84 flights per hour.

U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, wrote to Peters and Sturgell last week saying capping flights at JFK alone would increase flights and delays at Newark Liberty.

"Any solution we put in place for the New York area will be regional in its scope," Brian Turmail, a federal Transportation Department spokesman, said yesterday.

Menendez said he plans to meet later today with Sturgell.

"New Jerseyans know better than just about anybody that air travel these days can be a frustrating -- even harrowing -- experience, and the way the FAA has approached dealing with the problems has been equally frustrating," Menendez said yesterday in a statement.

Meanwhile yesterday, over the objections of Elizabeth officials and air-traffic controllers, the FAA said it is set today to start the first phase of its controversial airspace redesign plan by increasing southerly departures at Newark Liberty.

Depending on wind and need, planes may now "fan" out on takeoff, rather than follow each other in a more direct route, allowing more aircraft into the skies faster and helping alleviate delays at the congested hub, according to FAA officials.

But the region's air-traffic controllers, locked in a fierce battle with the FAA nationwide over pay and staffing issues, raised safety concerns and contended the plan has not been implemented properly. Tower and regional controllers, they say, are only receiving a 20-minute briefing on the initiative.

"Twenty minutes ain't enough to go get a cup of coffee, let alone learn a new airspace procedure," said Phil Barbarello, vice president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association's eastern division.

Edward Kragh, president of the local controllers union at Newark Liberty, said he is concerned that helicopter and small private plane pilots who travel near the airport have not been properly informed of new jetliner takeoff procedures.

"I think the FAA has really dropped the ball in letting people know this is coming," he said.

But Jim Peters, an FAA spokesman, said the procedure is safe.

"I cannot stress that enough," he said. "Union assertions that we would do otherwise are not true."

Over in Elizabeth, quality-of-life issues are the primary concern.

"The noise is going to be unbelievable," Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage predicted. "It's going to be in more parts of the city than ever before."

Ron Marsico may be reached at rmarsico@starledger.com or (973) 392-7860.

December 19th, 2007, 11:59 AM
We've got two airport threads going. Here's the other one:


Maybe we should keep it to one thread.