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NEWS Last modified on January 29, 2015

PANYNJ reports 3% jump in passenger traffic in 2014

More than 117 million passengers travelled through the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) airports in 2014, surpassing the record set in the prior year by more three million fliers – or a roughly 3% jump.

Preliminary data shows an estimated 117.1 million passengers used JFK Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Stewart International and Atlantic City International airports during 2014, with final official numbers expected later this quarter.

PANYNJ says the increase in passenger traffic fuels regional economic growth, with an estimated additional 4,000 jobs and $700 million in economic benefits whenever another million fliers are added to the airports' ranks.

Overall, passenger growth primarily was driven by international travel, which rose 6%, while domestic growth showed a 1.5% increase, and there was an estimated 75.2 million domestic and 41.9 million international fliers – both new agency records.

JFK International Airport led the way with a record estimated 53.2 million passengers, while LaGuardia also set an airport high with 26.9 million travellers last year, and Newark Liberty set another record with 11.7 million international passengers.

PANYNJ executive director, Pat Foye, says: “These robust, record airline passenger travel numbers support the authority's plans to invest over $8 billion to modernize its airports over the coming decade.

"Our gateway airports are major economic engines for the region, and an important source of job creation.

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Authority officials caution, however, that continued passenger growth must be tied to continued reform of FAA airline airport slot limitations, which place an artificial cap on how many planes can use the three major airports per hour and per day.

Although the region continues to attract interest for more passenger travel, the current FAA slot rules will not allow the forecasted passenger growth at the New York and New Jersey airports to be accommodated.

PANYNJ deputy executive director, Deb Gramiccioni, explains: “Growth in passenger use of our airports is critical to the region's economic health and the Port Authority will continue to make the investments necessary to keep travellers coming to New Jersey and New York.

"State-of-good-repair and robust modernization programmes will remain a priority at all our commercial airports."

The authority's airports combined support more than 550,000 jobs, nearly $80 billion in annual economic activity and more than $28 billion in yearly wages.

Understanding that airline flights create noise impacts on surrounding communities, the authority in 2014 also began community noise roundtables to address aircraft noise issues at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty Airports (Teterboro Airport has an existing group.).

The agency also is in the process of conducting federal Part 150 noise studies for all four airports to help find ways with the Federal Aviation Administration to alleviate some of these issues.

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Along with the roundtables and Part 150 studies, the authority implemented a flight tracking system on the agency's website so residents can monitor aircraft and specific decibel levels along flight paths over their communities, increased staffing to handle noise complaints, and committed to doubling the number of noise monitors around the airports.

The authority has more than 100 state-of-good-repair aviation projects as part of the current 10-year Capital Plan, which overall dedicates $8 billion to airport improvements, a figure supplemented by billions more in planned investment by the airlines and our other airport partners.

Over the past year, a major runway rehabilitation project was completed at Newark Liberty International Airport and United Airlines overhauled concessions at that airport's Terminal C.

JetBlue Airways also opened an international arrivals hall at JFK's Terminal 5, while Delta Air Lines recently opened new gates in phase two of its expansion at JFK's Terminal 4.

Meanwhile, the authority continues its efforts to re-imagine LaGuardia Airport with a new substation and parking deck as preludes to the planned, $3.6 billion public-private partnership to create a new Central Terminal Building, designed to accommodate the growth of passengers there over the coming decades.

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