Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce $11.5 Million In Federal Sandy Aid For Critical Runway Repairs At JFK And Laguardia Airports

Jul 7, 2014

New York – U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is awarding $11.5 million in federal funding to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) for Superstorm Sandy-impacted damage to both JFK and LaGuardia Airports’ arrestor bed technology designed to prevent aircraft from overrunning runways, known as Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS). An estimated $8.24 million will go towards JFK Airport and an estimated $3.25 million will go towards LaGuardia Airport. 

PANYNJ operates and maintains infrastructure critical to the New York and New Jersey region’s transportation network, including the city’s airports. Damage from Superstorm Sandy has cost the PANYNJ $2 billion in repairs to return the agency’s airports, rail system, bridges and tunnels to service. 

“Superstorm Sandy damaged New York City’s widely-used airports and this federal funding will help ensure both LaGuardia and JFK Airports operate at peak safety,” said Schumer. “I am pleased to announce this critical funding which will help restore the damage created by Hurricane Sandy needed to ensure the safety of our airports in the future.”

“The devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy to our city’s infrastructure and airports is unprecedented,” said Gillibrand. “This critical funding is an important step to help New York recover and rebuild. I will continue to work with my colleagues and localities to ensure that New York has infrastructure in place to rebuild better and weather future natural disasters.”

JFK and LaGuardia airports’ infrastructure suffered extreme flooding and damage from Superstorm Sandy. The storm surge combined with high tide flooded the airports’ runways, damaging the airport’s Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS), technology designed to prevent aircraft from overrunning runways.

The EMAS bed is composed primarily of aerated concrete blocks and designed to collapse beneath the weight of an aircraft, facilitating an emergency stop safely and quickly at the end of the runway. Upon inspection, the FAA recommended immediate replacement due to the damages sustained.