John F. Kennedy International Airport's clout as one of the leading airports in the world is being threatened by competition from other domestic and international airports, according to a report from New York City Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman.
Unless officials from the state, city, and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey join together to develop a reinvestment program for Kennedy, one of the city's most valuable economic resources could lose ground, the report says. Ms. Holtzman challenged the way the Port Authority has allocated its capital resources, favoring New Jersey's Newark International Airport over Kennedy.
Kennedy, located in the Borough of Queens, is facing stiff competition for travelers, cargo, and airline services from Newark International and other airports around the nation and the world, which are rebuilding and expanding their facilities. Furthermore, Kennedy's facilities are inadequate to deal with the 30 million passengers that pass through it each year, the report says.
"A more modern and efficient Kennedy Airport can play a critical role in creating new jobs and improving New York City's current fiscal climate," Ms. Holtzman said in the report. "To attract international travelers and cargo flights as well as job and business opportunities in a highly competitive climate, Kennedy must undergo major renovations."
From 1982 to 1989, the investment in Newark International by the Port Authority and airlines totaled $426 million, while investment in Kennedy, which handled 54 million more passengers than Newark over the eight years, was only $343 million, the report says.
Kennedy plays a pivotal role in the city's economy, generating more than 170,000 jobs in the metropolitan area and paying wages and salaries approaching $5 billion a year, the report notes. New York City also receives $39 million a year in rent payments from the Port Authority for Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.
Among the recommendations to improve Kennedy, the city comptroller proposed that the authority build a light railway link between LaGuardia, Kennedy, and the city's subway system, and create loan programs for export businesses.