Another Airport, Another Day Waiting in Line

After Thursday’s Port Authority board vote to take over Stewart International Airport, reporters asked no less than four times whether it would make Newark, Kennedy or LaGuardia any less congested.

Reporter: When will passengers expect the–you know, the delays that we are famous for nationwide–when will those delays change or will there be no change?

Answer (sort of) after the jump.

- Matthew Schuerman

Chairman Anthony Coscia: Well, our hope is that they change tomorrow but obviously it would be misleading to tell you that any of this is going to happen overnight. Executive Director Shorris mentioned some of the relative numbers that are important: that facility today serves somewhere between 300 and 500,000 customers a day–passengers a [year]. Our existing system serves 103 million, so the extent to which we can take that facility and increase it to 3 to 5 million over the next five years, that’s two-and-a-half million passengers that are not going to go to other airports that instead are going to go to Stewart…

Reporter: Give me a year though…

Executive Director Shorris: The delays are a product of a lot more factors. When the growth in our airports takes place, and we grow to 115 to 125 million passengers, it’s going to require a whole series of other changes to make the airports operate more efficiently to be able to handle…

Reporter: Can you give us an idea of how many passengers will be diverted to Stewart Airport from Newark Airport and do you expect any impact on businesses that rely on traffic there?

Coscia: Our view is that we feel strongly it will have the opposite effect….

Reporter: Do you have a number for about how many passengers are going to be expected to be diverted?

Coscia: …. It is difficult to estimate at this point exactly what number will come from any one airport, but I think what is important to add is that this system operates as a system consciously. Newark, Kennedy, LaGuardia and Teterboro are part of an integrated system. To the extent we are able to alleviate congestion at any one of those components actually leads to a better operating environment for all….

The reason this question was so hard to answer is because the answer is no.

Stewart isn’t going to help relieve congestion anywhere. How could it, if it will only serve 3 million passengers, while traffic at the three majors will increase by 12 million over the next eight years?

Unpack those bags–you ain’t going nowhere.

- Matthew Schuerman