Aviation News

August 25, 2011

New York Airports Preparing for the Worst from Hurricane Irene

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By: Phil Derner Jr.
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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is already neck-deep in preparation for Hurricane Irene, expected to reach the New York City area Sunday. Airports such as La Guardia and John F. Kennedy International are at moderate risk to storm surging, according to a map published by NYC Office of Emergency Management, depending on the strength of the storm. A category 3 storm could put JFK under 19 feet of water, according to a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The 4,930-acre JFK Airport is 13 miles from Midtown Manhattan, sitting at an elevation of only 13 feet above Jamaica Bay.

A release by the Port Authority this afternoon said they will be ready with “hundreds of cases of bottled water, diapers, cots, blankets and pillows” for any passengers that get stranded due to heavily delayed or canceled flights. They also have arrangements with concession owners requiring that at least one food vendor in each terminal remain open day and night so that people have additional food options. PANYNJ customer service employees will also be standing by to assist in finding hotel rooms or obtaining needed ground transportation.

All of their departments will be fully staffed with vehicles and equipment with the intent of monitoring conditions at all terminals and corners of the airport, and to respond accordingly. Additional rescue equipment and shuttle buses will also be on-hand.

In addition to their five airports, PANYNJ also operates several tunnels bridges and ferry and buss terminals, all of which will also see similar preparations for the 17 million people that live in the Greater New York area.

For more coverage and on Hurricane Irene and how it will affect travel around the country, stay tuned to NYCAviation.com, or you can follow us on twitter at @NYCAviation for regular updates and to ask specific questions.