Seven Years AND COUNTING to Install New Runway Lights in New York..

Some folks were surprised when American Express opened a Centurion lounge last summer in the Central Terminal at New York LaGuardia… because that terminal is slated to be replaced in 2021.

Back in December I wrote that stacking bureaucratic projects would inevitably delay the project’s completion.

I don’t think anyone believes that the new terminal will really open in 2021.

Here, I think, is another great example of just how delayed aviation projects get. Funding for new runway lights at the three New York airports was allocated in 2007 and the project has not yet been completed.

The idea is that “red signals to warn pilots of another plane nearby.”

I don’t often find myself in agreement with Senator Chuck Schumer. But here he has a reasonable point.

“The FAA must get this working, ASAP. New York’s airspace is the busiest in the nation, yet JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Airports have been sent to the back of the FAA line for installation of this critical runway lighting system,” he said. “We cannot wait for a deadly collision to occur.”

The FAA says “the system will be complete at LaGuardia this spring, at Newark this fall, and at JFK in two phases this year and next.”

Eight to nine years for runway lights that will warn of collision with other aircraft. But they’re going to build a new terminal in seven?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. personally i’m not sure these runway lights are *that* urgent a need. there are plenty of systems in place to warn of possible collision. just ask a controller when some GA group decides to fly up the hudson on a nice weekend. that said, i’d rather see safety and capital improvements before an overall terminal reconstruction.

    surprised that neither you nor many other bloggers mentioned governor cuomo’s recent announcement of a potential AirTain to LGA.

    really there are so many issues with this airport and its surroundings that i’m not sure where to begin with optimizing it for the long term.

  2. I’ve seen coverage of the AirTrain proposal, most of which shoot it down as unreasonable – a single line with spotty track record of running on time, would take longer to get to Manhattan than taking the Q70 to Jackson Heights/Roosevelt and one of the trains there, more transfers, more costly than Q70, etc.

    What sort of capital improvements outside of terminal reconstruction? The CTB, for instance, is a dump.

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