The Port Authority’s commercial airports set a record with 66.5 million passengers in the first half of 2018, an increase of 4.3 percent over the first six months of 2017.
The record number of travelers comes amid the ongoing $8 billion rebuild of LaGuardia Airport – where an entirely new 21st-century airport is being built atop an existing outmoded airport without any reduction of flight operations. LaGuardia experienced record passenger levels in every one of the four months from March through June.
“It is a tribute to the public and private workforces at all Port Authority airports that we are able to handle the expansive growth in airline passengers, often while building key infrastructure projects to handle the extra fliers in the coming decades,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “These record numbers are clear evidence our plans for continued investment in our airports is vital.”
“Rapid passenger growth and the need for world-class facilities to accommodate it is why, thanks to the leadership of both Governors Cuomo and Murphy, the Port Authority and private sector have committed roughly $28 billion to modernize our airports into 21st-century gateways to the region,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “The sustained growth numbers at LaGuardia are particularly noteworthy given the extraordinary amount of construction across the airport’s footprint and the total rebuild of the airport’s roadway network.”
Newark Liberty International Airport saw the largest growth in passenger numbers, jumping to a record 22.5 million travelers in the year’s first six months. This represents an increase of more than 1.5 million passengers (7.6 percent) over the same time period in 2017. Domestic passenger traffic grew to a record 15.7 million passengers. International traffic also broke records by serving 6.7 million passengers.
LaGuardia Airport set a record for first-half-year numbers with 14.5 million passengers, or a 2.6 percent increase compared with the first half of 2017. Domestic passenger traffic reached a record 13.4 million passengers. The airport’s flights between Canada and the Caribbean also posted significant passenger gains.
The overall $8 billion top-to-bottom rebuild of LaGuardia will tear down and rebuild nearly every passenger terminal and gate, providing new state-of-the-art 21st century facilities, while also building an entirely new roadway network on the airport.
At John F. Kennedy International Airport, the nation’s leading international hub, passenger travel also set the first-half-year record with more than 29.2 million total passengers, up 2.2 percent compared to the first six months of 2017. JFK saw a record 15.7 million international passengers, while domestic travel also increased.
The robust first-half numbers were helped by a strong lead-in to the traditionally busy summer travel season. In May and June, for example, LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark Liberty all posted their highest-ever passenger numbers for those months. For the full second quarter 2018 (April to June), Newark Liberty was 9.4 percent higher than the second quarter of 2017, with JFK up 3.6 percent and LaGuardia 2.6 percent ahead of their respective second quarter a year earlier.
New York Stewart International Airport’s passenger numbers ballooned 108 percent in the first half of 2018, compared with the first six months last year. Of the roughly 300,000 total fliers, there were more than 130,000 international passengers, largely due to the introduction of service by Norwegian Air to Europe in mid-2017. Domestic passenger totals increased more than 19 percent at SWF in the first six months of 2018, compared with the first half of 2017.
New York Stewart saw 448,323 total passengers last year, a figure likely to be easily eclipsed this year.
With support from leadership in New York and New Jersey, the combined public and private investments to rebuild and upgrade the Port Authority’s airports are essential to keeping up with the needs created by robust passenger growth. Public investments are being significantly increased by large-scale private investment – via airlines, air cargo companies and other firms — at our airports. Overall, funding by the Port Authority, airlines and terminal operators is targeted for new terminals, enhancing airport roadway access, vastly improved rail links to and from the airports, as well as vital state-of-good-repair work on runways, taxiways and related lighting and electrical systems.