Press Release Article


Date: Mar 01, 2018
Press Release Number: 40-2018

Agency sets total airport passenger record for sixth year in a row, helping spur regional economy; Increase in passenger traffic fuels regional economic growth with an estimated 4,000 additional jobs and $700 million in economic benefits

Port Authority airports now support nearly 600,000 jobs, while generating about $85 billion in annual sales

Agency’s $11.6 billion for aviation investments in current 10-year capital plan will deliver world-class services, amenities and innovations

Achieving another record surge in passenger numbers, the Port Authority’s airports welcomed 132.6 million total passengers in 2017, growing 2.2 percent over 2016’s previous record. The agency’s sixth consecutive record passenger totals provided a strong boost to the region’s economic and job development, with an estimated 4,000 additional jobs and $700 million in economic benefits.

“The current run of record years has featured an average rate increase of 3.8 percent,” said Port Authority Aviation Director Huntley A. Lawrence. “Our airports continue to see robust and sustained growth, underscoring the importance of the agency’s goals of developing world-class airports, while creating thousands of jobs.”

Marking the sixth consecutive year of record growth, the 2017 figures for the agency’s airports – including John F. Kennedy International (JFK), Newark Liberty International (EWR), LaGuardia (LGA), and Stewart International (SWF) airports – set a variety of different passenger records in addition to the highest total passengers ever. They included:

  • Most international passengers, system-wide, 47.6 million
  • Most domestic passengers, system-wide, 85 million
  • Most total passengers, JFK, 59.4 million
  • Most total passengers, EWR, 43 million
  • Most international passengers, LGA, 2.1 million
  • Most international passengers, SWF, 141,000

Nearly 36 percent, or $11.6 billion, of the Port Authority’s 2017-2026 capital plan spending, has been allocated toward airport modernization and improvements, including funding for new terminals, infrastructure and critical state-of-good-repair work.

Meeting best-in-class facility standards and employing global best practices are the Port Authority's overarching goal in delivering world-class services, amenities and innovations that passengers demand. The agency and its partners – including the airlines and terminal operators – are working cooperatively to deliver customer-centric projects that will improve the lives of travelers, while enhancing the region's economy.

“We are currently making hundreds of customer-facing investments and much-needed improvements at our airports, as well as discussing strategies and solutions with airport stakeholders to ensure a high quality of service for the hundreds of millions of customers who rely on us,” continued Lawrence.

The combined impact of aviation operations, capital spending and tourism generated by the Port Authority’s airports today now supports nearly 600,000 jobs and about $85 billion in annual sales. These investments will be augmented by billions of dollars of private sector investment at the airports by airlines, cargo companies, and other private sector participants.

Port Authority airports now offer more nonstop flights to additional destinations aboard various carriers, including five new destinations to Stewart International Airport. Air service was added at JFK Airport to three cities in China, along with direct service to Glasgow, Senegal and Uzbekistan, as well as in Newark Liberty to Bimini, Warsaw, Barcelona and Buenos Aires, and several new carriers, such as Avianca Brasil, Hainan and LOT Polish joined the airport family.

Over the past year, the agency made more than $5 billion in airport investments which included rebuilt runways and high-speed taxiways to alleviate congestion and delays, as well as terminal improvements.

LaGuardia Airport's modernization advanced with progress on a new Terminal B and its supporting infrastructure, including the opening of the terminal parking garage and the completion of Concourse B's steel erection. Additionally, the board approved a $4 billion plan by Delta Air Lines to redevelop terminals C and D, and six airlines relocated to improve the travel experience and minimize inconvenience and reduce delays. Additionally, planning work to determine the operational needs, constructability and financial feasibility of a new LaGuardia AirTrain system are underway.

Work on Newark Liberty International Airport’s new $2.7 billion Terminal One is underway with roadway-related infrastructure projects. Work is anticipated to begin by mid-year on the state-of-the-art 33-gate new passenger terminal, associated aircraft ramp, roadways and bridges and a 3,000 space parking garage complex and related infrastructure improvements.

At JFK, the board also authorized $62.2 million to upgrade two taxiways to allow larger cargo planes to access the airport's north side warehouses, key initial steps of JFK's Comprehensive Vision Plan.

Passenger volumes at SWF rose more than 60 percent with the expansion of Allegiant Air's service and the launch of Norwegian Air's flights to five European destinations, necessitating a terminal expansion. This $30 million project will add a permanent U.S. Customs inspection area to handle the airport’s significant rise in international passengers over the past year. The agency last week announced plans to rename Stewart to New York Stewart International Airport to increase the airport’s visibility with residents of and travelers to New York City’s metropolitan region, while advancing its goal of attracting new customers and building on its passenger growth.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit

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