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New York City’s airports have been growing at a far slower pace than almost every other major airport in the nation, finds a report released yesterday by the Center for an Urban Future, City Limits’ sister organization. As the report documents, the lag has cost the city a crucial opportunity to develop jobs in one of the biggest industries outside of Manhattan.

Kennedy Airport slipped from the seventh to the 14th busiest passenger airport in the U.S. over the past eight years while LaGuardia airport fell from 15th to the 20th. And JFK, which was the world’s leading cargo hub until 1990, is now only fifth in the world and third in the U.S.

As CUF’s report details, the problems stem from two sources: recalcitrant city and state officials who have failed to improve airport access, and the Port Authority’s unwillingness to invest in or even promote the development of more modern cargo facilities at JFK. As a result, chronic congestion on the highways in Queens and Brooklyn has prompted frustrated passengers to switch to Newark Airport and forced airlines to move their freight business to other airports. Meanwhile, the cargo facilities at JFK-which handles almost all of the cargo traffic in the city–are, on average, older and less efficient than similar structures at most other airports.

For a copy of the report, call author Jonathan Bowles at 212-479-3347 or e-mail him at jbowles@nycfuture.org.

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