Ozone Park, Queens – As part of ongoing efforts to partner with airport officials on a host of issues affecting the community, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D – Ozone Park) visited the John F. Kennedy International Airport air traffic control tower to survey recently-completed runway upgrades and meet with Air Traffic Manager David Siewert and other Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials.
“It was an honor to witness firsthand the operations responsible for monitoring and directing the planes as they fly over our communities. The tireless work and consummate professionalism of Air Traffic Manager Siewert and his team at JFK help ensure the safety of millions of passengers, as well as the thousands of families living around this major transit hub,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder.
Last week, Assemblyman Goldfeder visited the control tower at JFK Airport Terminal 4 to meet with FAA Air Traffic Manager Siewert to discuss the recently-announced completion of upgrades to north-south Runway 4L-22R, the agency’s efforts to respond to multiple high-profile drone flyovers in surrounding airspace, and community concerns over airplane noise. Siewert and his team also gave the Assemblyman a briefing on preparations for the arrival of Pope Francis in the city, and President Obama’s visit to the United Nations.
Following the meeting, Goldfeder was guided up to the control tower to view repairs to 4L-22R. FAA officials also took the opportunity to explain to the Assemblyman how flight paths are determined and what the agency does to try to reduce noise in communities throughout the city.
As has widely been reported, the closure of 4L-22R required the airport to rely more on east-west runways for arrivals and departures, increasing air traffic and noise in Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, and other neighborhoods to the west of JFK. With the work completed, Goldfeder noted, families in these communities should see air traffic return to pre-construction levels.
Runway 4L-22R is the parallel runway that runs northeast-southwest on the eastern side of JFK airport and handles about 25 percent of airport operations annually, according to the Port Authority, which owns and operates JFK. The $292 million reconstruction and rehabilitation project included the installation of high-speed taxiways and the widening of the runway to accommodate newer, larger aircraft.
Assemblyman Goldfeder’s visit comes as the legislator is busy working on a number of community issues surrounding the airport. Last month, Goldfeder and Councilman Eric Ulrich met with Transportation Security Administration officials to discuss airport employee parking in residential neighborhoods surrounding the airport. Goldfeder and Ulrich also recently announced positive responses to letters they wrote to major airlines at JFK regarding the parking situation. Next month, the officials are expected to speak at the Kennedy Airport Airlines Management Council monthly meeting to address residents’ concerns.
“JFK airport is as much a part of our community as any other institution,” concluded Goldfeder. “That’s why having strong partners in the FAA and the Port Authority is so important to ensuring our families’ quality of life issues are addressed.”