Reopening of New York JFK runway 4L-22R after substantial modernisation



Work includes delay reduction, durability and safety enhancements

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today announced the resumption of flights on a major runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport, following substantial completion of a $400 million modernization project designed to help reduce delays, enhance safety and increase the surface’s lifespan.

JFK Airport now has all four of its runways in full use for the first time since the spring, when the Port Authority commenced the major portion of rehabilitative work on Runway 4Left-22Right, which stretches more than two miles in a northeast-southwest direction just south of Rockaway Boulevard to a peninsula jutting into Jamaica Bay.

The Port Authority is committed to modernizing its airport system, from building state-of-art 21st century terminals to post-Sandy resiliency initiatives to on-airfield upgrades to move planes faster while enhancing safety measures,’’ said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye.

With cooperation from our airline partners and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the past six months of continuous work on Runway 4Left-22Right will prove to pay huge dividends in terms of operational safety and efficiency over the coming decades at JFK,” said Port Authority Aviation Director Thomas Bosco.

The complex project added a high-speed taxiway, allowing arriving aircraft to exit the runway faster and thus helping reduce ground delays by letting other planes touch down or takeoff on the same runway with greater frequency.

Concrete, which has a lifespan of up to 40 years, replaced the runway’s previous base of asphalt, which typically only lasts up to 10 years – a key durability advantage especially during winter operations. The revamped runway now has an 18-inch thick concrete surface, using a total of 220,000 tons of concrete – enough to fill every National Football League stadium to a depth of three feet. While initially more expensive, increasing the runway’s lifespan by using concrete lessens passenger inconvenience by reducing the need for more frequent runway closures.

Another critical project component was lengthening the runway safety zones at each end of the landing strip to 1,000 feet to provide extra overrun areas in case of aircraft emergencies, meeting an upgraded FAA requirement ahead of the year-end deadline. Additionally, the runway was widened from 150 feet to 200 feet to accommodate the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

During its lifespan, the project will mean creation of more than 2,460 jobs, $146.9 million in wages and nearly $712.3 million in economic activity.

The reconstruction and rehabilitation of Runway 4L-22R was a three-stage project that began last year. Through extensive planning and coordination with the FAA and airlines operating at JFK, work was staged to minimize the impact on airport operations. The staging allowed three runways to remain in operation during the work, dependent on weather and prevailing wind conditions.

Serving more than 54 million passengers annually, Kennedy Airport is a vital economic engine for the bi-state region, supporting more than 278,000 jobs, $14.1 billion in wages, and generating about $39.3 billion annually in economic activity.

For additional information about the JFK 4L-22R Runway Safety Area Compliance and Reconstruction Program, visit

Date: Sep 28, 2015
Press Release Number: 142-2015


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