NEWARK, NJ (WCBS 880 / AP) – The Port Authority is taking in proposals to do an airport capacity study for Newark Liberty International Airport, JFK International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport to look into expanding runways to help ease congestion.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney At EWR

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“The truth is the first thing to do is probably to upgrade the air traffic control system,” says Regional Plan Association executive director Tim Wright.

On average, flight delays at the three major airports average 20 minutes and about one-third of flights through the three airports were delayed or cancelled in 2009.

“Which is totally unacceptable,” says Wright. “And if you don’t want to see those delays go up to 25, 30 minutes, and if you want to be able to fly in and out without being bumped from flights, you better be rooting for new runways.”

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He says moving from a radar-based system to satellite will speed up takeoffs and landings.

“It can be implemented before building new runways, which are going to take a long time to plan and finance and construct,” he says. “But after that, all those other things, Stewart, high speed rail, regional airports – they don’t do it, and you’ve just got to, at some point, bite the bullet and you gotta look at building new runways.”

In January, a report by the Regional Plan Association recommended building an additional runway at either Newark Liberty or Kennedy. But it warned that construction at Kennedy might require filling in parts of the federally protected Jamaica Bay.

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What are your suggestions for easing congestion at area airport? Let us know below…

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