Record Number Of Passengers
The Port Authority reported that the region’s airports experienced a banner year in 2011, with John F. Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports reporting record international passenger travel, despite slow economic growth and major weather events. In addition, all four of the Port Authority’s commercial airports – JFK, Newark, LaGuardia and Stewart – reported passenger growth in 2011.
Not only did the airports set a record number for passengers, but the agency’s two airport light rail systems – AirTrain Newark and AirTrain JFK – reported record ridership in 2011 – evidence that the agency’s multi-billion investments to build both systems is paying dividends in better access to the region’s two busiest airports.
The AirTrain Newark system, which links NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor rail line to Newark Liberty International Airport, reported annual paid ridership of more than 2 million people for the first time since the system opened in 2002.
In addition, more than 5.5 million paid riders used AirTrain JFK in 2011, the seventh consecutive ridership increase reported by the system, and a 5.4 percent increase over 2010. Millions of additional riders used both rail systems free of charge to connect between terminals, rental car areas and parking lots.
To accommodate continued growth, the Port Authority announced plans last December to seek private sector partners to help redevelop the Central Terminal Building at LaGuardia Airport. A similar effort to attract private sector participation in the redevelopment of Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport will begin later this year. At JFK, construction is already under way on a $1.2 billion project to build out new terminal space at Terminal 4. Also in the Port Authority’s plans is a proposal to rehabilitate the major runways and expand the terminal at Stewart Airport.