The new free drop-off, pickup and waiting lot for Kennedy Airport...

The new free drop-off, pickup and waiting lot for Kennedy Airport passengers at the Lefferts Boulevard AirTrain station on Sunday. Credit: Jeff Bachner

In the latest step to reduce summer congestion at Kennedy Airport, the Port Authority on Tuesday launched a free drop-off, pickup and waiting lot for passengers with AirTrain service to terminals.

Passengers using the lot will be able to get to or from airline terminals on the AirTrain in less than 10 minutes, Port Authority officials said, saving travelers from “potential construction-related congestion” near terminals.

The AirTrains will run frequently between terminals and the lot at Kennedy Airport’s AirTrain station at Lefferts Boulevard at no cost to passengers, according to the Port Authority.

Major construction at Kennedy Airport spurred the opening of a new free...

Major construction at Kennedy Airport spurred the opening of a new free drop-off, pickup and waiting lot. Credit: Jeff Bachner

Kennedy Airport is undergoing an unprecedented $19 billion construction project that will create two new international terminals and a new roadway network over the next two years. 

Port Authority officials have warned travelers to expect impacts at terminal roadways and frontages, periodic lane closures on both highways accessing the terminals, reduced roadway capacity throughout the airport, and traffic pattern changes and detours.

Parking availability has also been reduced, with multiple lots impacted and more than 3,500 parking spots lost. Remote overflow lots with shuttle services have been established.

The executive director of the Port Authority, Rick Cotton, has urged travelers to use remote lots or mass transit when traveling to Kennedy Airport this summer to ease traffic congestion, Newsday has reported.

At least one airline industry analyst has criticized the company for starting construction ahead of the summer travel season, which is projected to attract a record number of travelers this year. 

An estimated 18.2 million passengers are projected to pass through Kennedy Airport this summer, officials said, 700,000 more than last year.

“We continue to evaluate traffic conditions and to add a variety of new measures to mitigate the impact of any congestion resulting from construction and high passenger volumes,” Cotton said in a news release.

John Corlett, vice president at AAA Northeast, said he thinks the new lot and shuttle service is a “great idea.”

“Summer is a big travel season, the airports are busy, and to an extent, this can make travelers’ lives less stressful and a little simple,” he said.

The Port Authority said it has increased staffing to facilitate traffic flow.

Officials encouraged passengers to visit Construction.JFKAirport.com for updates and travel advisories before traveling to Kennedy Airport.

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