Airport Sustainability

  • About
  • Delay Reduction & Airspace Efficiency
  • Aircraft Noise Mitigation
  • Sustainability Programs in Action


The Port Authority is committed to making the airports environmentally responsible with initiatives that affect facility operations, the aviation industry, and customers. The airports follow the approach to sustainability codified by Airports Council International-North America, known as EONS, which takes into account four key considerations when sustainability programs are designed and implemented:

Economic viability
Operational efficiency
Natural resource conservation
Social responsibility

To complement the EONS framework, the airports follow the Port Authority agency wide sustainability policy:

  • Reduce emissions from facilities 80% from 2006 levels by 2050.
  • Encourage customers, tenants, and partners to conduct their businesses in a more sustainable fashion, including reductions in their own GHG emissions.
  • Develop strategies that reduce the risk posed by climate change to facilities and regional infrastructure.

The Aviation Department is released its second consolidated sustainability report for the entire airport system covering calendar year 2015.

The Port Authority has published Sustainable Management Plans for Stewart International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, and Teterboro Airport and is rolling out initiatives detailed in each of the plans. Some of the marquee initiatives include:

  • Evaluation and potential overhaul of waste and recycling programs.
  • Focus on climate change adaptation and building resilience.
  • Tenant outreach and support on emissions reduction projects.
  • Support for airfield and aircraft efficiency initiatives.
  • Employee health and community outreach programs.

Delay Reduction & Airspace Efficiency

The Port Authority is using industry-leading strategies to reduce delays, which saves time for passengers and millions of gallons of fuel, thereby reducing carbon emissions from aircraft on the airport.

In addition, the Port Authority supports NextGen, a nationwide modernization of air traffic control to increase airspace efficiency. NextGen seeks to transform the National Airspace System from a ground-based one of air traffic control to a satellite-based system. The Federal Aviation Administration's Next Generation Air Transportation System will alleviate delays at the nation's most congested and delay-prone airports. Click here to learn more.

photo of two trainees at the airport runway

Other delay reduction initiatives include:

  • Surface congestion management system (Aerobahn) helps airlines save 5 million gallons of aviation fuel per year and 14,800 hours of taxi-out time. This installation helped JFK win the 2012 ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Award for Special and Innovative Projects.
  • Construction of high speed taxiways expected to reduce aircraft fuel use and taxi time while aircraft are on the ground.

Aircraft Noise Mitigation

The Port Authority has been recognized for decades as a leader in the aviation industry in reducing aircraft noise. The agency was one of the first and most persistent airport operators in the nation to successfully lobby the federal government to require the quieter "Stage 3" aircraft on all commercial flights. The Port Authority's Board of Commissioners also banned the use of "Stage 1" general aviation aircraft — the oldest and loudest planes — at Teterboro Airport in 2002.

Following are measures that have been implemented to reduce aircraft noise and its impacts on the communities:

photo of two trainees at the airport runway

Airport Noise and Operations Monitoring System

The Port Authority utilizes Airport Noise and Operations Monitoring System (ANAMS) to collect noise and flight data from airport and community monitoring sites for JFK, EWR, LGA, and TEB airports in addition to flight track data from the FAA. It is the primary tool used by the Port Authority's noise office to research disturbances and to monitor noise abatement procedures.

Departure Noise Limits

As part of the "Terms and Conditions for the Operation of Jet Aircraft" at JFK, Newark Liberty, and LaGuardia, takeoffs are permitted only if they are conducted below the noise level of 112 PNdB. It is the responsibility of each air carrier to determine methods of compliance, such as thrust reduction, turns away from the community, limitations of gross weight, or utilizing aircraft with quieter engines.

Preferential Runway Usage

Preferential runway systems are in place at each of the airports, which attempt to minimize the use of the most noise-sensitive runways. In this concept, an airport's runways are ranked on the basis of noise annoyance they cause. Therefore, an attempt is made by the FAA to use those runways that cause the most annoyance least frequently and conversely, to use those that cause the least annoyance most frequently.

Noise Abatement Departure Procedures

Noise Abatement Departure procedures and techniques are used to reduce community noise by directing the flow of traffic away from densely populated areas and by distributing over-flights over various communities. Although the residential areas surrounding each airport are densely populated, they are also adjacent to unpopulated areas. Water bodies, park areas, wetlands, highways, and industrial areas at each airport present an opportunity to avoid or reduce the extent to which residential areas are over-flown. Working with the operating airlines and the FAA, a number of noise-abatement approach and departure procedures have been developed and implemented.

Ground Run-up Restrictions

The Port Authority has implemented aircraft ground run-up restrictions at each airport to minimize run-up noise impacts in the nearby residential areas. The Port Authority must approve run-up location and aircraft orientation. During the night-time hours, no air carrier may conduct more than one run-up at a time, and no more than one engine may be run-up at full power for more than one minute.

Displaced Runway Thresholds

A displaced threshold is a runway marking that identifies the runway threshold for landing aircraft, at a location other than the physical end of the runway. Because a displaced landing threshold is farther down the runway than the actual runway end, aircraft on approach must maintain a higher altitude to reach the extended touchdown point, which results in a slight decrease in noise over residential areas located near the ends of runways. The Port Authority has incorporated displaced runway thresholds on runways at JFK, Newark Liberty, and Teterboro airports.

Community Outreach

The Port Authority works closely with communities and elected officials throughout the region with regard to aircraft noise and other airport issues.

Aircraft Noise Restrictions

In accordance with the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA), airplanes with certificated weights greater than 75,000 pounds must conform to Stage III noise limits at Port Authority Airports. Stage III noise limits are defined in Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 36 noise level classifications. In addition, airplanes that are type certificated after January 1, 2006 must meet Stage IV noise limits.

Voluntary overnight curfew on aircraft operations at LaGuardia Airport

To reduce noise, the Port Authority asks the airlines to voluntarily avoid scheduling aircraft operations before 6 a.m. and after 12 midnight at LaGuardia airport. This has a positive effect with regard to aircraft noise at night.

Overnight closure at LaGuardia Airport during Summer months

From late May until October, as conditions permit, the Port Authority closes the airport during the night-time hours from midnight until 6:00 a.m. for required maintenance, which has a positive effect with regard to aircraft noise at night.

School-Soundproofing Program

The Port Authority has implemented a school-soundproofing program under which schools in high noise-impacted areas have been selected for treatment. These schools are retrofitted with new windows, insulation, and ventilation systems. Actual noise measurements, taken before and after the work, have shown a reduction in aircraft-noise intrusion levels of at least 50 percent in the classroom. The Port Authority under the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds this program with the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Noise Complaint Collection System

The Port Authority has implemented a new automated noise hotline to collect community noise complaints. The toll free phone number for filing noise complaints is 800-225-1071. Noise complaints can also be filed electronically by filling out the web form.

Noise Monitoring

Click here to launch the PANYNJ flight tracking and noise monitoring information system.

Sustainability Programs in Action

ACA Program Logo

All five airports, John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty, LaGuardia, Stewart International and Teterboro Airports, have achieved Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) from Airports Council International (ACI) for the agency’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

With our partners and stakeholders, the Port Authority is taking important steps to achieve sustainable growth, promote environmental efficiency in its operational activities, and reduce the impact of aviation on climate change.

Some of our sustainability achievements and plans are described below.

Energy Efficiency

  • New building construction and renovations, including Terminal redevelopment projects, are required to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards under Port Authority’s Sustainable Design Guidelines
  • Installation of pre-conditioned air and gate power at Port Authority controlled gates at Newark Liberty and Stewart to reduce use of aircraft auxiliary power units while at the gate. Additionally, all tenants at Newark Liberty, LaGuardia, and JFK have installed or plan to install pre-conditioned air/gate power units at tenant-operated terminals.
  • Installation of energy efficient lighting on airfields and in buildings.
  • Installation of energy efficient equipment in buildings. Examples include:
    • Efficient lighting retrofits are expected to save $54,000 per year in electricity costs at Stewart International Airport.
    • A chiller replacement at Newark Liberty International is saving the airport $500,000 per year in electricity costs.
  • Encouraging tenant purchase of electric ground support equipment to replace gas- or diesel-fired equipment.
  • Use of 20 percent biodiesel in all diesel powered equipment owned by the Port Authority.
  • Partnership with the New York Power Authority, the Federal Aviation Administration and JetBlue to electrify ground support equipment at JFK Terminal 5

Clean Vehicles and Fuels

  • The Port Authority is in the process of converting all its airport shuttle buses to electric models. The eighteen electric buses already purchased for JFK, LGA and EWR represent the largest electric bus fleet of any airport operator in the U.S.
  • The Port Authority is working with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to provide a DC Fast Charging (DCFC) hub at the JFK cell phone parking lot – the first of its kind at any U.S. airport.  The charging hub will be available to the public and for-hire electric vehicles.
  • Use of 20 percent biodiesel in all diesel powered equipment owned by the Port Authority.
  • Commitment to convert 50% of the agency’s light duty fleet vehicles to electric and install associated charging infrastructure
  • The Port Authority has been leading the way on alternative fuels for vehicles for several years, with hydrogen, Compressed Natural Gas, hybrid, and biodiesel vehicles in its fleet.  We continue to explore ways to increase the proportion of sustainable fuels used by our fleet.
Photo of New All Electric Bus

New All Electric Bus

Renewable Energy

  • Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations are currently installed and producing clean, renewable energy at EWR (total of 633 kW installed capacity) and SWF (82 kW installed capacity). These projects generate nearly 800,000 kWh per year of solar energy, reducing GHG emissions by over 240 tons per year.
  • Additional on-site solar PV installations are planned for SWF, LGA, EWR and JFK, including both rooftop installations and carports.
Photo of Solar Panel installation at EWR

Rooftop solar panels at EWR


photo of two trainees at the airport runway

We are building on recycling efforts by establishing a comprehensive policy and program for all of our airports. A major part of the program is the availability of recycling in the public areas of the passenger terminals. At least 75 percent of selected construction and demolition waste is recycled at all airports.

Supporting our Customers and Community

  • Installation of publically accessible electric vehicle charging stations at JFK and LGA.
  • Introducing green cleaning products whenever possible in all indoor spaces (read more about the PA Green Cleaning Policy here)
  • The Port Authority is working with The Good Traveler to make travel more sustainable by offering cost-competitive carbon offsets to our customers that deliver measurable benefits. Purchasing carbon offsets through The Good Traveler is one of many ways that our customers can offset the Greenhouse Gas Emissions associated with their travel.
  • Community events such as Earth Day fairs, educational tours, and job fairs held on a regular basis.

Sustainable Construction

  • Pervious pavement is used in a parking lot at Stewart International to minimize runoff.
  • High reflectivity surfaces are used during construction to mitigate heat island effect.
  • Durable, long-life concrete was used during bay runway construction at JFK (rather than asphalt).

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