A major infrastructure upgrade and high winds have intermittently forced airlines to use only one runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport since Sunday, an official said on Wednesday. The runway disruptions have led to hours-long delays and infuriated passengers.
The airport typically operates four runways, said Ron Marsico, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
However, he said a major upgrade to one runway-- aimed at extending its overshoot area to meet federal requirements and enlarging it to accomodate larger airplanes-- has forced authorities to take an intersecting runway out of service since Sunday. Two other runways have been closed due to high winds at certain points since then as well.
"Unfortunately, the rough winds coincided with the project," he said.
Winds continued to cause flight delays on Wednesday, according to the FAA's website.
Several passengers of JetBlue flights took to social media beginning on Tuesday night to complain of delays of up to four hours long.
“One runway at JFK turned a 30 min layover into 4 hours,” tweeted Chris P. Peters. “Happy to be in Philly finally.”
“@jetblue It's deceptive to allow people to book flights to #JFK when there is planned runway construction with 4 hours delays,” wrote @Austinlonestar.
Other passengers continued to complain about delays on Wednesday.
JetBlue issued several apologies over Twitter, and released an official statement that attempted to explain the delays. It said that as of March 15, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was undertaking a “runway improvement construction project” at JFK that will help the airport to “handle more aircraft efficiently.”
The company said that it would strive to minimize any flight disruptions, suggesting customers check their flight status online.
Marsico said the runway upgrade will continue for 40 days.