13R/31L, JFK's main runway for long hauls, is going to be closed for about 4 months starting this March for widening and conversion to a concrete surface. Though flights are being reduced, this will almost certainly increase the amount of delays at JFK this year. JFK is also notorious for contributing to systemic delays in US air travel: "Of the 46 most frequently delayed domestic flight routes last spring, half involved an arrival or departure at J.F.K. "
What I want to know is: what exactly leads to the overwhelming numbers of delays at JFK? Besides flight volumes, etc, what unique factors give JFK so many problems?
JohnJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1700 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2524 times:
JFK through much of the day is a relatively quiet airport. The European arrivals trickle in starting in the early afternoon, and I'm not aware of too many problems with arrivals if the weather is OK. The problem as I see it as that EVERYONE departs right around the 6 p.m. window. Even on a good day, you can count on an hour from the time you push back to takeoff if you leave in the evening. Add in some weather and things of course are worse.
It's all very interesting if you're watching planes, but as a passenger it can be a bit maddening. Spacing out those evening departures would seem the right answer, but since the European flights are timed to arrive on their destination end at a desirable time, I'm not sure how you'd convince the airlines to do that.
DC10sRULE From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 172 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2466 times:
Quoting JohnJ (Reply 1): The problem as I see it as that EVERYONE departs right around the 6 p.m. window.
A busy airport like JFK would have slot controls meaning that airlines submit a planned schedule of operations and the airport authority (or whoever oversees the slot allocation) will ensure there is gate availability and that the proposed times are not too congested.
At YYZ, the slot times are broken up into 15 minute blocks (4 sets per hour). For example - If an Air France A340 wants to arrive at 15:50 Local and depart at 17:40 Local, and assuming there is a gate available for that amount of time - then they will take one slot in the 1545-1559 range and one in the 1730-1744 period. The amount of movements per 15 minute block is based on the runway capacity of a typical operation. I don't know how slots are handled at JFK but I'm guessing that they will take the upcoming runway closure into account when assigning slots to the various operators as the capacity will be reduced.
Therefore, while it may appear that EVERYONE is leaving at 6PM, the process is very controlled and the times requested by airlines are all reviewed and assessed prior to being approved. If the requested arrival or departure time is booked up, then the airline is notified to change the affected time. Assuming a gate is available for the new operating times the process starts over again.
As far as the reason for many of the delays - in my opinion, the runway layout at JFK combined with the extremely complex airspace (being surrounded by other busy NYC airports) prevents JFK from maximum utilization of their runways unless winds and weather are perfectly aligned. Any change to the equation means a different runway operation with reduced capacities. Extended periods of time at a reduced capacity = delays.