NEW YORK (WPIX)—Travelers flying out of JFK International Airport better get ready to twiddle their thumbs: starting Monday, the main runway will be shut down for the next for four months.
Bay Runway will be shut down for routine repairs beginning Monday, March 1. As a result, nearly one-third of JFK Airport's traffic and half of its departures will be diverted to three smaller runways.
Meanwhile, travelers can expect higher ticket prices and more flight delays, which could spread throughout the United States.
Airlines do not plan on adding more flights in April and May, when nationwide travel usually picks up. JetBlue, Delta and American are all holding their winter schedules for JFK until July translating to fewer flights and number of seats to meet demand.
With the airport's main runway out of commission, planes are also expected to have to wait on longer lines for takeoffs on the ground and flying longer in the air for landings.
Residents near the airport, however, have another concern.
Local officials said the Long Island communities of Floral Park, Franklin Square, Mineola and Garden City can expect to hear more jet noise as the smaller runways will lead thousands of airplanes to fly over central and eastern Nassau County.
The increased air traffic on the alternate path will occur mostly in the evening between 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. when many international flights are scheduled to land and take off.
Many airplanes will be flying as low as 2,000 feet a mere 550 feet higher than the Empire State Building.
JFK Airport's Bay Runway, at 14,572 feet, is one of the longest commercial runways in the world. It will be repaved with concrete instead of less-durable asphalt and widened to accommodate today's bigger planes.
The project overlaps with peak travel season because it is also one of the driest times in the area, making weather-related construction delays less likely.