3 Links I Love: Privatizing JFK, Heathrow Plan Cuts, Clearing the Runways of Snow

This week’s featured link:
The time has come to privatize JFK AirportNew York Post
It’s a rare day that I find myself wanting to link to the New York Post, but just like last week, this week brings another good article from Jason Rabinowitz. Is it time to pull JFK away from the Port Authority? (Well, yeah.)

Two for the road:
Heathrow Plans Sloping Runway to Cut Costs by $3.4 BillionBloomberg
Go figure, the plan to add a runway (and more) at Heathrow is really, really expensive. So now they’re looking at ways to cut back the costs. The sloped runway is one possibility, so it cutting the length of the runway. Besides the obvious cost savings of using less concrete, it more importantly means less of a move for the busy motorway that the runway butts up against. I have no idea if this is a smart move or if it’s just being pennywise and pound foolish.

Clearing Mitchell’s runways a choreographed snow dance powered by massive diesel enginesMilwaukee Journal Sentinel
File this one under “unsung heroes” alongside the people who de-ice aircraft. Keeping those runways clear of snow is a thankless job, but it’s incredibly important. I’m glad to see the paper shining a spotlight on the locals who do it in Milwaukee.

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19 Comments on "3 Links I Love: Privatizing JFK, Heathrow Plan Cuts, Clearing the Runways of Snow"

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Matthew
Member

JFK’s terminals, aside from 2 and 7, are fairly new. Terminal 1 needs to be expanded, and terminal 7 could be expanded to where terminal 6 used to be. Terminal 2 needs to either be modernized and expanded, or ripped down. Its a dump and easily the worst terminal in operation at JFK. The Port Authority needs to give up control of NY airports, all three have their share of issues, and the PA does nothing to fix them.

Bgriff
Member

The biggest problem with terminals 1 and 2 are that they are shoehorned in a very cramped corner of the airport. Expanding terminal 1, and/or expanding terminal 4 to the west when terminal 2 is someday demolished, would only further entrench that.

Ideally you’d have a master plan that completely rearranges the use of land in the central terminal area to something more efficient — perhaps an HKG or ATL layout with a massive single parking garage out front — but the fact that so many of the terminals are fairly new makes it even harder to achieve that.

Jinxed_K
Guest

Having snow and de-icing equipment is the norm in northern airports, but I’m curious if there’s any laws/regulations that require them warmer parts of the country, even though they only see snow rarely?
Standard businesses and cities are usually more economical/safer to just shut down while it’s snowing than keeping a fleet of snow removal equipment idle when it doesn’t snow, but how does it work for airports?

Andy
Member

I can confirm that we have deicing equipment in the deep south. We had to wait 30 minutes at MSY during the January 2013 ice storm while they pulled the deicing truck out of storage, and I was on flights that were deiced this year at SAT and ATL

Bgriff
Member
What I don’t understand about the JFK privatization proposal: why is Governor Cuomo leading the modernization and part-privatization plan at LGA if it would be up to De Blasio to privatize JFK? I guess Cuomo’s LGA efforts have been under the auspices of his control of the PANYNJ? Both of them have their issues, not least their complete unwillingness to cooperate with each other, but the work going on at LGA seems to be going fairly well and is moving at light speed by NYC standards. So if those impressions are in fact correct, I’m more inclined to let Cuomo… Read more »
Jason Rabinowitz
Guest

What they did at LGA is essentially what has been the case at JFK for decades. To rebuild the CTB, the Port formed a PPP, turning control of CTB construction and management once open to the new private company. At JFK, terminals were already privately built and operated. The problems at JFK are simply amplified due to the poor layout and sheer number of entities in control.

Bgriff
Member
Thanks, makes sense. So the LGA CTB is doubly awful because in addition to the airport being managed by the PA, the terminal itself is too. (Now that I think about it, I see the resemblance to the PA Bus Terminal in the city.) I assume there may be legal issues with the city voiding an existing contract with the PA to manage JFK though, and perhaps even more so with implicitly voiding the contracts the PA has with the terminal operators at JFK. I guess you could structure it so that the new private airport operator takes over the… Read more »
Jack in SFO
Guest

Can anybody offer an explanation of how a sloped runway would affect operations? 5 meters change over a 3200m runway doesn’t seem like it would make things that different, but I’m curious to hear an expert take. And does a 3200m runway limit operations significantly over a 3500m runway?

PJ
Guest
I’m with you Jack. 5 meters is not significant and there are many examples around the US that slope more (ATL 9L/27R, LAX 7R/25L). I assume ICAO rules are similar to the FAA which limits the slope on an airport Heathrow’s size to a max 1.5% along each vertical curve for the runway length. There are additional limitations for the first and last quarter of the runway and for the how close slopes along the runway length can be to one another. As long as there isn’t a significant amount of earthwork required to make the slope work, I don’t… Read more »
Bob Schilling
Member
With respect, the proposal to “privatize” JFK seems ill-informed.  The airlines and airline partnerships have built and controlled the terminals since JFK was rebuilt on the bones of Idyllwild Airport in the 1950s.  The International Arrivals Building was an exception, but that’s long gone. The Port Authority doesn’t own the airport – it leases the ground from The City of New York, and sublets the terminal grounds to airlines, airline partnerships, and terminal operators.  Airlines, airline alliances, and private terminal operators (frequently joint ventures of the airlines) build, maintain, and operate the terminals.  At that level, JFK is already “privatized.”… Read more »
Tim Dunn
Member
outstanding, Bob. The problem with the PANYNJ is that they try to do way too much and do nothing well. Local government owned airports work in many cities in the US. The problem is not the structure of ownership but the government or government authority that runs the airport (JFK). The unit terminal structure wasn’t even the problem. The problem was that there was no coordination at the terminals where flights were headed to verify that there was space to park – and in many cases, there was no space. Yes, JFK needs to have overflow pad parking and busses… Read more »
Bob Schilling
Member
Well spoken, Tim.  I know from experience that the Operations Manager at JFK used to be something of a demigod.  In the circumstances you describe, he would have called an AOC meeting and politely asked (a) what the gate availability was, (b) how the airlines were going to coordinate flights to ensure that they didn’t dispatch an inbound without knowing where they were going to park it, and (c) what the overflow contingency was.  And he would have gotten prompt and complete answers.  I also know from experience that when it’s an emergency, buses, stairways, and temporary parking can all… Read more »
Kilroy
Guest
Loved the article on the snow removal crews at MKE. Definitely a group of people you never think about or hear about, and it was a good look at what they do. Would be interested in learning more about some of the non-pilot, non-FA aviation related roles, from the guys deicing planes to those fueling them. Here’s the 2015-2016 version of Milwaukee’s snow removal plan. http://www5.passur.com/mke_docs/mkepdf3.pdf It’s actually a very interesting thing to skim through, and really details all the coordination, thought, and processes that go into snow removal and extreme weather at an airport the size of MKE.
MK03
Guest

Offtopic, but is it me or is Airliners.net’s forums predominantly composed of Airbus fans? Not defending either Boeing or Airbus, but it there are times it seems that way, based on activity there.

Now on-topic… a sloping runway? I’m not exactly sure how that works, the only times I’ve heard of such a thing is on short runways on small island or otherwise remote airfields (all of which were apparently dangerous)

letstry2
Member

Probably long past the time for New York to build a new airport somewhere outside the city and just close JFK and Laguardia. Don’t expect it to happen but it’s what really needs to be done.

Bob Schilling
Member

The PA tried that way back in the 1970s.  The same forces that now demand privatization fomented every NIMBY in Northern New Jersey (it was proposed for the Meadowlands) and killed it.  And yes, it’s too late now, unless we want to uproot major existing construction.  Of course, if the scientists are right, and Jamaica Bay is going to rise 6 feet or so, it might be good to start surveying now.  Much of JFK is less than 6 feet above the high tide line; almost none of LaGuardia is.  Floating airports, anyone?

Oliver
Guest

Return of the float planes?

If someone plunked down an airport in your backyard, would you be a NIMBY, too?

Hov
Guest
TC99
Guest

FLL’s south runway is a recent example of a sloping runway being constructed. See post # 45 for a picture of the new runway that slopes upwards from the west (distant view) to the east (near view) and is considered 6 stories tall on the east end of the runway.

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1431212&page=3