The New York Port Authority has announced approval of a $376.3m programme second phase delay reduction programme at John F Kennedy (JFK) international.

The investment programme also includes reconstructing and widening the airport’s runway 13-31, which is close to three miles in length and handles around a third of the airport’s total air traffic.

The delay reduction programme includes projects interrelated to the runway work, such as construction of additional access points on nearby taxiways; new taxiways to improve aircraft queuing and enable swifter departures; and easier access from taxiways to terminal gates.

JFK Airport chairman Anthony R Coscia said that the programme was designed to make the airport more user friendly.

“These projects have a single goal: to give every one of our 48 million annual customers at JFK a more efficient, passenger-friendly airport. This robust investment will also create construction jobs for around 1,000 during the peak,” Coscia said.

Executive director at the airport Chris Ward agreed that the current economic recession made the programme even more significant.

“This is economic stimulus in real time. These investments will create jobs, reduce flight delays and increase our airport’s capacity to handle more planes,” Ward said.

The runway reconstruction project includes milling six inches of existing runway asphalt and overlaying with 18 inches of concrete, which has a lifespan of up to five times more than asphalt and will provide an estimated long-term savings of $500m.

The runway will also be widened from 150ft to 200ft to accommodate the world’s largest commercial aircraft. New runway lighting and electrical infrastructure will also be installed as well as a new electrical feeder system and accommodation for future navigational aids.

The programme will run from June this year to 2011 with the runway being closed completely for 120 days. To mitigate the effect on the airport airlines will be adjusting their activities and the airport’s other three runways will be used to their full capabilities.

By Daniel Garrun.