The Port Authority released its 2019 passenger and cargo volume data across its facilities which established new records at the airports, seaport, PATH system, Goethals Bridge and Staten Island Bridges. The record volumes validate the agency’s historic $37 billion 10-year Capital Plan to rebuild and significantly upgrade its legacy facilities that were built decades ago to handle far smaller volumes of people and cargo.
“We have taken aggressive steps in the past year to invest in building new, modern facilities and to upgrade existing legacy infrastructure to handle the record passenger and cargo volumes we continue to experience every year,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “From the new LaGuardia Airport, to the new Terminal One at Newark Liberty, to the redeveloped JFK Airport, we intend to make an unprecedented level of investment in our infrastructure to create a network of state-of-the-art facilities that provide an unparalleled level of customer experience.”
“Our legacy facilities were built to handle passenger and cargo volumes from a bygone era and simply cannot continue to support the record level of activity they must now handle on a daily basis,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “That’s why we are firmly committed to rebuild our airports and build new rail mass transit links to them, rebuild the nearly 70-year-old Port Authority Bus Terminal, modernize the PATH system and upgrade our port to enable all facilities to handle continued growth.”
During 2019, the Port Authority handled a record 140.5 million passengers at its four commercial airports – John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and New York Stewart International airports – an increase of 1.6 percent over the previous record of 138.2 million passengers handled in 2018. The biggest percentage increase was reported at LaGuardia Airport. Despite a new airport being under construction with temporary roadways across much of the airport, LaGuardia handled 31 million passengers in 2019, a 3.3 percent increase over the previous record passenger volume handled in 2018. JFK Airport reported a 1.5 percent increase in passengers, including new records for both domestic and international travelers. And at Newark Liberty, more than 46 million passengers passed through the airport, a 1 percent increase in air passengers over the previous 2018 record volume.
Rail mass transit use at John F. Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International continued its record growth. The agency’s two AirTrain systems set annual passenger records in 2019. AirTrain JFK handled nearly 21 million passengers in 2019, surpassing the previous annual record set in 2018. And AirTrain Newark handled more than 11 million passengers in 2019, surpassing the previous annual record handled in 2018.
To accommodate the ongoing record demand, the Port Authority and its private airport partners have committed an unprecedented $30 billion – the most in agency history – to maintain and build new airport facilities across the New York-New Jersey region. The level of investment was evident in 2019 with major construction and planning activities taking place across the air, land, rail and sea network.
At LaGuardia, an $8 billion rebuilding of the legacy airport is in progress. As part of that rebuilding, the first of Delta’s four, new state-of-the-art concourses opened last October. This new concourse marked the second new concourse to open as part of the total rebuild of the airport.The opening of the first new concourse and gates at Terminal B occurred in December 2018. In addition, an extensive environmental review process began last year for the AirTrain LGA project and the Port Authority Board in November authorized the full funding needed to build it. At Newark Liberty, a steel topping-out ceremony was held in October for the new Terminal One, a major milestone in the construction of the $2.7 billion project. The new terminal is expected to be fully operational in 2022. Also last September, the Port Authority Board included two new Newark Liberty projects in the agency’s 2017-2026 Capital Plan – an entirely new AirTrain Newark and planning to replace the existing Terminal B. At JFK, the Port Authority Board in October authorized $445 million to provide for early work items to facilitate the development of the $13 billion JFK Redevelopment Program, including the creation of new aircraft hardstand parking.
Port of New York and New Jersey:
During 2019, the Port of New York and New Jersey handled 7,471,131 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), breaking the previous annual record of 7,179,788 TEUs in 2018. The cargo growth was bolstered by a 2.6 percent increase in imported goods including clothing, furniture, electronics and other everyday products over the previous record for imports set in 2018. During the year, the port handled 5,231,418 loaded TEUs, surpassing the loaded imports handled by the Port of Long Beach, elevating the port to No. 2 in the nation for the first time in two decades.
The port also set a new all-time record for cargo handled by rail, moving 664,987 containers by rail, up 3 percent over the previous record set in 2018.
To accommodate the ongoing record cargo growth, the Port Authority last June announced the completion of the ExpressRail Port Jersey facility, the final piece of the Port of New York and New Jersey’s intermodal rail network spanning facilities in Elizabeth, Newark and Staten Island. The completion of the upgraded rail network provides the port with future capacity to handle up to 1.5 million rail lifts annually, enabling it to compete for more cargo destined to the middle of the country. In the short term, opening of the new facility allows the port to advance its strategic goal to handle more than 900,000 rail lifts a year during the next five years, the equivalent of more than 1.5 million fewer truck trips traveling through local roads, which will greatly reduce congestion and enhance air quality.