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JFK's Bay Runway Not So Popular Anymore?  
User currently offlinewashingtonian From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 13457 times:

For years, 31L/13R was the main runway at JFK. It was the prestigious runway for European flights to depart from (as silly as that might sound, I think a lot had to do with the Concorde). Everyone made a big deal when they closed it for several months last year for repaving.

But lately it seems to me that 31L isn't used that heavily. During most evening rushes, the setup is arrivals on 22L and departures on 22R and 31L at KK. The general routine is for domestic flights to use 31L at KK, and international flights to use 22R. My question is when did this change in routine occur? So many of my past international flights from JFK have departed from 31L, but that seems pretty rare these days.

37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAT From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1050 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 13072 times:

Aren't the runway utilization decisions based primarily on wind directions?

I landed on 31L on an Emirates flight from DXB some weeks ago.


User currently offlineltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13170 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 13021 times:

Perhaps part of it may be interence with flights from other areas airports as well as reducing the number of flights over residental areas adjacent to the airport to keep them from hassling the PA.

User currently offlineN62NA From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4580 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 12985 times:

If you're referring to "lately" it's because it's summer in NYC and the winds are usually out of the southwest.

Winter you'll find winds out of the northwest most of the time.


User currently offlineAlasizon From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 289 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 12949 times:

I know that recently (It has been a couple days since I flew into JFK) in the mornings, most of the red-eyes and early local arrivals arrive on 31L.


Window seats may be over-rated, but I'll take a window seat on a DC9 anyday
User currently offlineordpark From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 576 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12694 times:
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It's those Darn Turtles Fault!!!!

User currently onlinemoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2382 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 12540 times:

Quoting N62NA (Reply 3):
If you're referring to "lately" it's because it's summer in NYC and the winds are usually out of the southwest.
Winter you'll find winds out of the northwest most of the time.

Exactly, just normal seasonal operations at JFK.



KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlinejfklganyc From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3599 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 12236 times:

It's not a seasonal thing.

JFKs traffic has increased significantly over the last decade since B6 came on scene,

The airport went from handling just over 30 million pax a year in the late 90s to handling just short of 50 million now.

This has led to a sharp increase in delays at the airport. To maximize efficiency of the runways, 3 are used when possible and it switches based on time of day,

JFK is a departure heavy airport in the am and they try to use land 22L, depart 22R, southwest departures 31L KK or land 4R, depart 4L, SW departures 31L KK.

Once mid day roles around, JFK is an arrival heavy airport and they tend to Land 22L, 13L and depart 13 R, This lasts until around 4pm.

In then reverts back to the config above.



Up until the 90s, JFK heavily relied on a 2 runway operation . . . today it needs 3 runways or arrivals incur delays.

So yes, departing full length 31L or 13R is not as prevalant. Another config that was used almost every day well into the evening was the VOR (Canarsie Approach to 13L/R). It is really only used in the middle of the day at this point.


As for winds, JFK is famous for landing on runways that don't necessarily correspond with winds. If the wind is light (which it usually is) it is not unusual to land with a x wind or even a slight tail wind.

They really really try to keep the 3 runway configuration in use whenever possible.


User currently offlinee38 From United States of America, joined May 2008, 367 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 12051 times:

Quoting washingtonian (thread starter), "It was the prestigious runway for European flights to depart from"

Where in the world did you come up with that statement? I have flown in and out of JFK for years and do not ever recall Runway 13R/31L being designated as "prestigious." It's just a runway. I actually am not familiar with any airport that has a "prestigious" runway.

Also quoting washingtonian (thread starter), "Everyone made a big deal when they closed it for several months last year for repaving."

No they didn't. Airports close runways all the time for repairs and/or repaving. The airport authority establishes alternate procedures to compensate for the closures and the operators accept those procedures, even if it means a temporary reduction in operations. Perhaps the media made a big deal out of closing the runway; the aviation community did not.

e38


User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1108 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 10982 times:

Quoting e38 (Reply 9):
Where in the world did you come up with that statement? I have flown in and out of JFK for years and do not ever recall Runway 13R/31L being designated as "prestigious." It's just a runway. I actually am not familiar with any airport that has a "prestigious" runway.

While I wouldn't say it's a "prestigious" runway, it is extremely cool watching 747s and 777s bank sharply to left right after takeoff from 31L. Nothing quite like it anywhere else.


User currently offlinejcs17 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 8065 posts, RR: 39
Reply 10, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 10982 times:

It's a shame that in the 60's NYC didn't reclaim at least part of the bay. The problems with runways, gate space, and hangars would be completely solved. These days it would be impossible with environmentalists who love swampland, seagulls, turtles, and bluefish.


America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
User currently offlinewerdywerd From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 598 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 10702 times:

Quoting e38 (Reply 9):
No they didn't. Airports close runways all the time for repairs and/or repaving. The airport authority establishes alternate procedures to compensate for the closures and the operators accept those procedures, even if it means a temporary reduction in operations. Perhaps the media made a big deal out of closing the runway; the aviation community did not.

Actually the closing of the runway was a HUGE DEAL. We (Jetblue) had to reduce our schedule last summer and many delays were encountered due to the closed runway.

I remember we even had a joint "war room" at T5 with AA and DL during the runway closure. B6, AA and DL would monitor JFK Traffic all day due to the closed runway and adjust ground traffic as needed (on the fly) in order to keep A/C flowing through JFK.

So yes, it was quite a big deal.


User currently offlinewashingtonian From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 10657 times:

Quoting moose135 (Reply 7):
Exactly, just normal seasonal operations at JFK.
Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 8):
It's not a seasonal thing.

I think JFKLGANYC is right. I've been noticing this for months now. It was the same in winter, so I don't think it's because of seasonal operations.

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 8):
Up until the 90s, JFK heavily relied on a 2 runway operation . . . today it needs 3 runways or arrivals incur delays.

Thank you for your very interesting explanation. I agree with most of what you said, and it makes a lot of sense. It's definitely the case that fewer international carriers use 31L/13R these days.

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 8):
So yes, departing full length 31L or 13R is not as prevalant. Another config that was used almost every day well into the evening was the VOR (Canarsie Approach to 13L/R). It is really only used in the middle of the day at this point.

This is still pretty common in tandem with 22L arrivals. But just like with departures--13L gets all domestic flights and the few international flights arriving from the west or north, while 22L gets pretty much every European flight. It used to be a lot more common to see European flights arriving on 13L.

Quoting e38 (Reply 9):
Where in the world did you come up with that statement? I have flown in and out of JFK for years and do not ever recall Runway 13R/31L being designated as "prestigious." It's just a runway. I actually am not familiar with any airport that has a "prestigious" runway.

I think it's fair to call 31L/13R JFK's "prestigious" runway. Feel free to disagree with me though. But for years it was famous for the Concorde departures and for most trans-Atlantic departures. It's the longest runway at a commercial airport in North America if I'm not mistaken.

Quoting e38 (Reply 9):
No they didn't.

Yes, they did. If you go back and look at some of the threads on A.net then, it was a mess. There were quite a few days where JFK was a ONE runway operation.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 10):
While I wouldn't say it's a "prestigious" runway, it is extremely cool watching 747s and 777s bank sharply to left right after takeoff from 31L.

Yes. Very cool. Sadly though this has become somewhat of a rare occurrence. Although I have noticed that after the evening rush is over, they tend to switch back to 31L for all departures. So you could catch some of the heavy stuff late at night (the 10PM-11PM wave of international flights), or some of the pre-rush heavy stuff (Asian 77W flights come to mind)


User currently offlineAv8torG3 From United States of America, joined Jan 2011, 7 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 10439 times:

IT'S A RUNWAY!!! Airplanes land and depart on them, nothing special about them. Which runway they used is based on wind, traffic, noise abatement, aircraft performance, etc. that is all.

User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8230 posts, RR: 26
Reply 14, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 10360 times:

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 10):
While I wouldn't say it's a "prestigious" runway, it is extremely cool watching 747s and 777s bank sharply to left right after takeoff from 31L. Nothing quite like it anywhere else.

This is simply not the case. Immediate post-departure turns are commonplace at a number of other airports where one can see the same:

HNL 8R
SFO 1L/1R
HND 34R
ITM 32L
SIN 20L/C
ICN 33L/C

That's just a relative sample. There are many many more.



If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16892 posts, RR: 51
Reply 15, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 8421 times:

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 8):
JFKs traffic has increased significantly over the last decade since B6 came on scene,

For a long time EWR handled more passengers than JFK, for example in 2000 EWR handled 34 Million passengers and JFK handled 32 million. JFK has grown tremendously since 2000, from 32 million in 2000 to 47 million passengers per year in 2010. What is surprising, and somewhat disappointing, is that EWR has not recovered back to their pre-9/11 levels. In 2000 EWR handled 34 million, last year EWR handled 32 million passengers. The problem is not CO, it's all the other domestic airline reductions. I have a feeling though 2011 will be the year EWR surpasses their pre-9/11 levels thanks in part to WN, they are generating a lot of business.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineN126DL From United States of America, joined May 2010, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 8048 times:
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Quoting washingtonian (Reply 13):
I think it's fair to call 31L/13R JFK's "prestigious" runway. Feel free to disagree with me though. But for years it was famous for the Concorde departures and for most trans-Atlantic departures. It's the longest runway at a commercial airport in North America if I'm not mistaken.

That would be 16R/34L in DEN at 16,000 feet.



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User currently offlinetsnamm From United States of America, joined May 2005, 631 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 7524 times:

Quoting STT757 (Reply 16):
For a long time EWR handled more passengers than JFK, for example in 2000 EWR handled 34 Million passengers and JFK handled 32 million.

EWR handled more passengers for 1 year exactly...


User currently offlineapodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4304 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6409 times:

While 4L-22R is not as long a runway as 13R-31L, it is still over 10,000 feet long, which is plenty long enough for just about most flights leaving JFK.

Because of the way NY airspace is set up, departures and arrivals are steered away from LGA airspace, to avoid conflict with LGA arrivals. 31L departures are turned left right off the deck toward the bay. 4L departures are turned east a couple of miles from the airport. Since the 4L departures are turned east, which is the direction that European departure routes out of JFK go, it is much easier for European flights to use 4L rather than 13L. Aside from departures to New England and upstate NY, the domestic flights are either south or west out of JFK. JFK uses RBV for Westbound departures so 13L departures that turn that way are much easier to use, since it is much easier to vector planes to hand off to Liberty South (Liberty is the Departure area that combines the departures from the all the NY airports and hands them off to center).

The International departures are actually handed off directly to Boston center from the Kennedy area for the most part, where as the New England and Upstate NY flights will be handed off to Liberty East.


You will find that most of the airports that use multiple departure runways actually work the same way, having a runway config and then assigning corresponding departure runways based on the initial departure fix. But to explain all that would require its own thread, and would probably belong in tech ops.


User currently offline747fan From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 1188 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 5620 times:

Quoting washingtonian (Reply 13):
But for years it was famous for the Concorde departures and for most trans-Atlantic departures.

While I believe the left turn toward the bay was in use for years prior to the Concorde entering service, Concorde is what seems to have made the Canarsie departure/Breezy Point climb famous. If one notices, most aircraft departing 31L are airborne for maybe a mile or two before commencing the turn. But Concorde began a sharp, dramatic turn literally seconds after becoming airborne. They'd cut off the afterburners right around then as well (compare to them being shut off 40-50 seconds after becoming airborne out of LHR for example).
Concorde didn't exclusively use 13R/31L though, I've seen footage of it departing 22R. Not as sure about Concorde departing off 4L though as noise is a much bigger issue departing off that runway (would overfly a good chunk of real estate in far eastern Queens, western parts of Nassau County/Long Island).

Quoting washingtonian (Reply 13):
It's the longest runway at a commercial airport in North America if I'm not mistaken.

Its 14,572 ft. which indeed made it the longest up until 16R/34L at DEN was lengthened to 16,000ft about 10 years ago.


User currently offlineJayDub From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 4996 times:

Quoting e38 (Reply 9):
Where in the world did you come up with that statement? I have flown in and out of JFK for years and do not ever recall Runway 13R/31L being designated as "prestigious." It's just a runway. I actually am not familiar with any airport that has a "prestigious" runway.
Quoting Av8torG3 (Reply 14):
IT'S A RUNWAY!!! Airplanes land and depart on them, nothing special about them. Which runway they used is based on wind, traffic, noise abatement, aircraft performance, etc. that is all.

All I can say is..."Thank You".

I read statements like those of the OP on this site and sometimes wonder where people pull this stuff from. Seriously, very little in this industry is done in the name of "prestige", especially on the traffic management and flight operations side of things. As they should, those entities care about little else except safety and operational advantage.


User currently offlinewashingtonian From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 4886 times:

Quoting apodino (Reply 19):
Since the 4L departures are turned east, which is the direction that European departure routes out of JFK go, it is much easier for European flights to use 4L rather than 13L.

Sure, but for years this didn't stop them from using 31L was the primary departure runway...It's more recent, as JFKLGANYC pointed out above.

Quoting JayDub (Reply 21):
I read statements like those of the OP on this site and sometimes wonder where people pull this stuff from.

Read all of the replies in the thread, including # 20. Runway 31L was famous for the Concorde. Just because you are not aware of something doesn't make it not true.


User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16892 posts, RR: 51
Reply 22, posted (3 years 4 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 4754 times:

Quoting tsnamm (Reply 18):
EWR handled more passengers for 1 year exactly...

Try a seven year stretch that ended in 2003, then there was another stretch of about the same length in the '80s.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlinesxmarbury33 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 445 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 4528 times:

Isn't 13R an alternate for the Space Shuttle? I seem to recall hearing something like that. If true I would call that prestigious, however I doubt any pilots feel slighted when they dont get it heh. That said I am sure some of the heavies appreciate the length for de-rate (flex) or safety reasons.

User currently offlinewashingtonian From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3840 times:

Quoting sxmarbury33 (Reply 23):
If true I would call that prestigious, however I doubt any pilots feel slighted when they dont get it heh.

I don't think anyone gets slighted if they don't get it....i just still think it's JFK's best-known runway.


25 Semaex : True. I never looked at one of those threats, but every single day the runway was down, there were two new threats about it. Saying that media made a
26 panam330 : Don't forget EGE! Talk about hair-raising to those that don't expect it.
27 Post contains images soon7x7 : 31 Left?...you can perform your currency take off/stops in one trip down the runway. After labor day when the cold fronts start barrelling through 31
28 timz : It's been 14572 ft since... the early 1960s?
29 moose135 : Yeah, I'm pretty sure that it's a shuttle alternate runway because it's so long, not that it's so long because it is a shuttle alternate runway.
30 cf6ppe : IIRC, the early B707s with the JT3C (turbo-jet powerplants) water wagons - in trans Atlantic service - used all but a few feet of the Bay Runway to t
31 XXXX10 : AFAIK Concorde only used 31L as it allowed them to execute a steep climbing turn to avoid the local residents. 22R was also used occasionally. I am su
32 jfklganyc : Just to reiterate my post from above: JFK has moved into a 3 runway operation whenever the wind permits (which means it is not too strong) This happen
33 washingtonian : Yes, thanks again for the explanation. I hope everyone read this post and your original post. It is spot on. To the best of my recollection it was ar
34 aajfksjubklyn : The threadstarter is correct though. They have NOT been using 31L.....it's pretty rare. I was on an AA flight to MXP laxt week, and everyone was out e
35 Post contains images psa188 : Not any more. Yes, it has more to do with operational requirements and wind direction than "prestige."
36 washingtonian : Does anybody read threads anymore? I didn't say it wasn't being used anymore because of prestige.
37 GolfBravoRomeo : And a stiff southeast wind with a ceiling low enough to necessitate the ILS 13L will also cause major delays at JFK (and LGA and EWR).
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