71° Good Morning
71° Good Morning

Letter: Port Authority a good steward

The newer control tower at Laguardia Airport belies

The newer control tower at Laguardia Airport belies the old buildings, right, that reflect another era in aviation history. (May 15, 2012) Credit: Craig Ruttle

In response to "Who's minding store at Port Authority?" [Letters, May 6], The Port Authority, as operator of five major metropolitan area airports, is committed to ensuring the safety of its air travelers. That is why the bistate agency is installing measures at each of its airports in compliance with a recent Federal Aviation Administration mandate that U.S. airports meet runway safety standards by the end of 2015.

At facilities like LaGuardia Airport, where physical constraints preclude provision of a standard 1,000-foot-long safety area, the FAA allows the use of an Engineered Materials Arresting System to achieve an equivalent level of safety. This is the only arresting system approved by the FAA, and it is a bed of aerated concrete blocks that crush under the weight of an aircraft's landing gear to decelerate and stop an airplane in the rare event it overruns the runway.

At LaGuardia, each of the airport's enormous concrete runway deck structures must be extended by 180 feet in order to accommodate the EMAS. However, this solution is far more cost-effective than extending the structures by a full 1,000 feet into Flushing Bay and Rikers Island Channel.

The entire cost of the deck extensions and EMAS is funded by airline charges, not by Port Authority tolls. I assure Newsday readers that the Port Authority is a prudent steward of public money and that its safety plans for LaGuardia are both cost-effective and FAA-approved.

Thomas Bosco, Queens

Editor's note: The writer is the general manager of LaGuardia Airport.