The verdict is in, again: LaGuardia Airport still has the most delayed arrivals of any major airport in the United States. That's according to a new report from the Global Gateway Alliance, a nonprofit focused on improving airport infrastructure in the NYC area.
The report, released Monday, found that more than 28 percent of flights into LGA were delayed in 2016, good for 29th out of 29 airports surveyed in the study. On-time arrival rates at the top three airports—Salt Lake International, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson, and Detroit Metro—were all above 85 percent.
Performance at our other area airports was similarly lacking. At Newark and JFK, late arrivals accounted for 23.2 percent and 25.5 percent of all flights, good for 25th and 27th places, respectively.
The area's airports also ranked in the cellar for on-time departures. JFK's on-time departure rate of 77.7 percent was good for 22nd place, while LGA's 77.17 put it in 26th. Newark, with a 75.6 percent on-time rate, was dead last.
This news will come as no shock to New York's long-suffering air travelers. LaGuardia has long been a particular laughingstock, called "un-New York" by Cuomo and compared to the airport of a "third-world country" by Joe Biden in 2014. (I believe the proper nomenclature is "developing country," and plenty of airports in developing countries are actually really nice, but we'll forgive Joe for the turn of phrase.)
This summer, local airports ranked similarly poorly in U.S. Department of Transportation data covering the first half of 2016.
LaGuardia's performance seems to be on a very slightly upward trajectory, with a 1 percent improvement seen over arrivals for 2015 and a 2.5 percent improvement for departures.
A combination of small improvements here and significant drops in performance at San Francisco and LAX helped New York avoid 2015's fate, when its three airports held the bottom three spots on the arrivals list. Sadly, all three fell in the departure rankings.
Earlier this month, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the three airports, released its 10-year capital plan, which includes $1.5 billion for Governor Cuomo's planned LaGuardia-Willets Point AirTrain boondoggle and $600 million for renovations at Terminals C and D. (The projected cost of the renovations would exceed $4 billion, but the rest is supposed to come from private partners.) The budget also includes $1.7 billion to extend the PATH train to Newark and $1 billion for improvements at JFK.
"While the terminal redevelopment projects are important, these dollars won't be enough unless we address the delay problem too,” Global Gateway Alliance Chairman Joe Sitt said in a statement issued with the report.
Sitt cited limited runway space as a major factor in the persistent congestion plaguing New York’s airports, and called for the Port Authority to act on a proposal from the Regional Plan Association that would expand runway capacity at all three airports. Sitt also called on the PA to fully implement so-called NextGen satellite air traffic control technology, which has improved air traffic management at other major airports.
"As part of LaGuardia Airport’s major redevelopment, the relocated terminals and new island-gate system will create nearly two miles of new taxiway space for more effective circulation of aircraft and taxiing times, which will yield shorter and fewer gate delays as part of the ongoing efforts to make more efficient use of the airport’s small geographic footprint," a spokesperson for the Port Authority wrote in an email to Gothamist. "We also continue to work with the FAA, which controls air traffic, to expedite the implementation of Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) technologies to reduce delays at all Port Authority airports."