03.23.15

SCHUMER CALLS ON FAA TO END DELAYS & APPROVE CRITICAL PLAN TO EXTEND RUNWAY AT MACARTHUR AIRPORT TO ATTRACT MORE AIRLINES & IMPROVE SAFETY FOR FLYERS; WITH FAA PREDICTING MAJOR FLIGHT CONGESTION AT JFK & LGA IN NEXT DECADE -TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE TO GET MACARTHUR INFRASTRUCTURE UP TO SPEED

Schumer Urges the FAA to Finally Approve the MacArthur Airport Master Plan & Airport Layout Plan to Extend a Second Runway to Approx 7,000 Feet - MacArthur-Submitted Plan Has Languished on FAA's Desk for More Than a Year. 

Schumer Cites February FAA Report Outlining Concerns That JFK, LGA & Newark Will Be Over-Capacity in 5 to 15 Years Due to Demand for Air Travel - Major Airlines Will Turn to Other Nearby Airports To Alleviate Delays, & Two 7000+ Ft. Runways Will Make MacArthur a Prime Option. 

Schumer: MacArthur Needs a Second Longer Runway to Retain Air Carriers and Attract New Ones, Giving Long Islanders Increased Safety, More Choices, More Competition, and Downward Pressure on Prices

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to finally approve MacArthur Airport's Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan to extend a second runway by approximately 2,000 feet, in order to help improve safety for flyers, retain carriers and attract new ones. The application was submitted in 2013 and the airport cannot move forward with this work without this FAA approval. Schumer explained that this expansion is particularly critical in light of the FAA's February 2015 report predicting that JFK, LGA & Newark airports will be far over-capacity in the next 5 to 15 years, due to demand for air travel. Schumer also urged the FAA to provide AIP discretionary grant funding to MacArthur for the construction phase of this runway work, which will extend a second runway to the length of approximately 7,000 feet.

MacArthur's sole long runway is a hindrance to attracting and keeping commercial airline service. For example, cross-winds at airports are a prime reason that specific runways are shut down, and without multiple long runway options, airlines are less inclined to prefer airports like MacArthur. Schumer said that the FAA must approve the airport's Master Plan now, which was submitted in December 2013, so that the Environmental Assessment can begin this year, with design and construction to follow. The runway extension will be critical to ensuring that MacArthur does not lose further air carriers, but also so that the airport has the infrastructure in place to attract business overflow when JFK, LGA and Newark become too congested in the coming decade. 

Schumer was joined by Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter, Town Council and Airport Commissioner Robert Schaefer.

"In just a few years, major NYC airports will be stretched thinner and thinner due to the high demand of air travel, and major airlines will turn to nearby airports like MacArthur to alleviate congestion and delays. However, there is one factor standing in the way of accommodating these additional airlines, retaining current air carriers and improve safety for flyers: the airport must extend its second runway," said Senator Schumer. "The FAA must approve MacArthur's Master Plan to extend its runway so that this project can move full speed ahead."

"We support Senator Schumer's efforts to approve our master plan for LIMA. The benefits of extending our runway enhance the safety of our residents, while maximizing the convenience offered to all who utilize Long Island's MacArthur airport. This runway extension will also help to relieve the congestion at JFK & LGA and provide an opportunity to encourage airlines to come to LIMA," said Supervisor Angie M. Carpenter.

"MacArthur Airport is one of the best assets we have on Long Island but its potential will remain untapped unless the FAA agrees to approve the master plan and extend the runway so we can attract more carriers and thus more users to it.  We commend Senator Schumer for continuing to be a champion for this critical economic development asset to our region," said Kevin Law, President and CEO, Long Island Association.

Long Island MacArthur Airport currently hosts two airlines: US Airways and Southwest Airlines and accommodates over 5,000 people per day. MacArthur Airport has already submitted its Master Plan to extend a second runway by approximately 2,000 feet. In order for an airport like MacArthur to extend their runway the FAA needs to adopt the amended Airport Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan. Once approved, MacArthur will have to complete an Environmental Assessment and move forward with construction of the project.

Schumer today said that threats of congestion at JFK, La Guardia, and Newark airports make MacArthur Airport a practical alternative for increasing demands in travel and, an extended runway will help accommodate this predicted increase. The FAA warns that by 2020, 65 percent of JFK's peak hours will see delays; and at La Guardia, 72 percent of peak hours will see delays. And by 2030, those numbers could jump to 93 percent at JFK and 81 percent at La Guardia. In addition, according to the NY/NJ Port Authority, JFK, La Guardia and Newark airports experienced a record number of flights in 2014. For example, JFK Airport hosted 53.2 million travelers in 2014. Anticipating that airlines will seek other nearby airports to address congestion and market demands, Schumer said that MacArthur must have the infrastructure already in place to benefit from this potential surge of business.

Schumer explained that a second extended runway would also boost safety measures and economic activity for MacArthur airport. For example, a longer runway can remain in use during inclement weather and gives pilots more flexibility during takeoff and landing if cross-winds make landing at one runway safer than another.

Schumer also vowed to fight for MacArthur Airport to receive the funding it needs to extend the runway once the Master Plan is approved, including funding from the FAA's Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Overall this extension is expected to cost approximately $18 million. The FAA can provide AIP grants to airports for projects that enhance airport safety, capacity, and security, or alleviate environmental concerns. These funds help keep our airports in tip-top shape, and Schumer vowed to fight for MacArthur Airport to receive the federal funding for which it is eligible.

A 2010 New York State Economic Impacts of Aviation Report indicated that MacArthur Airport’s total impact for Long Island was $577 million and supporting 6,085 direct and indirect jobs. The number of flights at MacArthur have a direct impact on Long Island’s economy. The study estimates that an average of $1,215 of economic activity is generated per enplanement and 107 enplanements generate one job.

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