Overview of New York City Airports

New York JFK Airport - on-time

New York JFK Airport – On-Time

Getting to The Big Apple

Be prepared when flying to New York. The city alone has three major airports, each with its quirks, operating at full capacity. When there is weather in the area, delays can build up quickly, but international flights and long distance business markets tend to get priority when the weather does go south.

Operations must also be coordinated by the three, such as runways in use, to make the most of New York airspace.

The three primary airports which serve New York City are New York LaGuardia (LGA), New York Kennedy (JFK) and Newark Liberty International (EWR). If you’re looking to visit the city, you’ll want to fly into one of these three.

The following is meant to be a brief overview of the NYC airport system, which is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), a bi-state government authority.

Map of New York City Airports

Map of New York City Airports

New York LaGuardia Airport

New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) only handles US domestic and Canadian flights from airports where there is per-clearance of US Immigration and Customs. LaGuardia’s location in northern Queens, next to Flushing Bay, makes it the easiest to reach Manhattan by Taxi, but offers little when it comes to public transportation. Taxi’s are metered and can be picked up outside the airport – ignore offers of transportation from solicitors in the terminal.

Ground transportation may also be booked in advance.

24/7 LaGuardia Airport Transportation

The airport is slot controlled, as well as at capacity, and is limited to flights within the LaGuardia Perimeter Rule. The perimeter rule prohibits nonstop flights to or from points beyond 1,500 statute miles, with the exception of flights to Denver and flights on Saturday.

Delta Air Lines is the largest carrier at LaGuardia and has created what the airline considers a “domestic hub”, but you’ll find a wide variety of airlines, including discount carriers at New York LaGuardia. American Airlines and American Eagle offer many flights and consider LaGuardia a Focus City.

LaGuardia is the oldest of the facilities with two runways built for the era of the DC-9. The Port Authority is currently soliciting bids to re-build the Central Terminal Building.

New York John F. Kennedy – JFK Airport

New York Kennedy (JFK) is the primary international airport in the New York City area. The majority of flights are international, with the exception of JetBlue and Delta, which both operate a hub at JFK. Delta has a network of domestic feeder flights along with international non-stops to Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.

Additionally, a variety of airlines also provide trans-continental flights to points on the west coast such as Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Portland (PDX), San Diego (SAN) and Seattle (SEA), as these cannot be offered at LaGuardia because of the perimeter rule.

If traveling from the United Kingdom or Europe, you’ll findFlights to New Yorkprimarily arrive at JFK, but nearby Newark Liberty also serves as an international port of entry.

Each terminal which accepts international flights is outfit with a Federal Inspection Facility operated by US Customs and Border Protection.

24/7 JFK Airport Transportation

JFK airport features nonstop flights to every inhabited continent, except Australia. The oldest part of the airport is Delta’s Terminal 3, the original, Iconic Pan Am facility. However, Delta Air Lines will be shifting international operations to Terminal 4 once a $1.2 billion project is completed.

To get around JFK, a free AirTrain operates between terminals. For travel into Manhattan there’s the option of taking a taxi or public transportation.

The JFK AirTrain operates to Jamaica Station where you can pick up the Long Island Railroad to New York’s Penn Station or go underground to take the subway.

Newark Liberty International Airport – EWR

Newark Liberty International (EWR) is located across the state line, but next door to New York City. Newark serves as a hub for United Airlines, which has a strong European route network from Liberty Airport.

Most major US cities can be reached via United from their Newark hub.

24/7 Newark Airport Transportation

A large variety of international carriers operate from Newark Liberty International. US Customs and Border Protection operates a Federal Inspection Facility in both Terminal C and B for incoming international arrivals.

Taxi transportation is available into Manhattan, but public transportation is more cost effective. The Newark AirTrain connects the airport with the Newark Airport Train Station — from here, you can easily take New Jersey transit into New York’s Penn Station.

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