LaGuardia Airport leads nation in arriving flight delays

LaGuardia Airport leads nation in arriving flight delays
Photo by Michael Shain
By Bill Parry

LaGuardia Airport is leading the nation with the highest percentage of delays in arriving flights, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation statistics analyzed by the advocacy group Global Gateway Alliance.

The study, which compared delays at the nation’s top 29 airports for passenger traffic, shows nearly a third of all arriving flights, or 28 percent, at LaGuardia are delayed while Newark and JFK both finished in the bottom five.

“Once again, New York airports lead the nation for delays, So while the terminal redevelopment projects are important, these dollars won’t be enough unless we address the delay problem too,” Global Gateway Alliance Chairman Joe Sitt said. “Put simply, our airports will just be nicer places to get stuck in. The FAA must finally roll out NexGen satellite air traffic technology where it is most needed, the New York airspace, and we will have to look at how to expand runways to alleviate the chronic congestion.”

Global Gateay said a full roll out of NextGen is needed to alleviate congestion in the skies and clear the way for more departures and arrivals. While some of the reforms are in use, like the digital pilot communications program and curves approaches, these work better with the entire system in place.

The Port Authority, the operator of LaGuardia Airport, is working with the FAA, which controls air traffic, and the airlines to expedite the implementation of the new technologies that would have a tremendous impact reducing delays. Meanwhile, the Port Authority will continue to work with the FAA and its partners to develop more efficient and procedural changes.

The agency pointed out it operates in the most complex airspace, where issues like poor weather can result in delays that compound quickly. The Port Authority has made nearly $200 million in investments to reduce delays, which include the installation of high-speed taxiways to help move planes faster on and off runways.

“As part of LaGuardia Airport’s major redevelopment, the relocated terminals and new island-gate system will create nearly two miles of new taxiway space for more effective circulation of aircraft and taxiing times,” a Port Authority spokeswoman said, “which will yield shorter and fewer gate delays as part of the ongoing efforts to make more efficient use of the airport’s small geographic footprint.”

The Port Authority said that despite record numbers of travelers and high-volume of planes, on-time departures in 2016 improved slightly at LaGuardia Airport from 2015 to 2016 even in face of an unusually high incidence of 2016 summer thunderstorms.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.