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Study: New York City Airports Have Worst Tarmac Delays In The Country

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - The three major New York City area airports have become the subject of another hall of shame-worthy report.

As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported Thursday, John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports are judged to be the worst in the country when it comes to the percentage of flights delayed on the tarmac at takeoff and landing.

Landing at the airport, only to sit waiting to reach the terminal, is a major stressor for passengers who are in a Big Apple hurry.

Study: New York City Airports Have Worst Tarmac Delays In The Country

"It's pretty awful. You know that," said passenger Whit Allen. "You just want to get off, and to get to your destination."

And passengers let waiting black car drivers know it, telling the drivers to step on the gas and move fast once they finally get off the plane.

Other times, planes pull away from the terminal but sit there a while before taking off.

Air passenger Pat Knowles called that phenomenon "disheartening, because it's usually really hot."

So-called tarmac delays are frustrating, and the new study said in terms of the percentage of flights affected, LaGuardia, JFK and Newark are the first, second and third worst in the country for tarmac delays.

Last year, Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports experienced tarmac delays between one and five hours.

The report says about 660,000 passengers were affected.

WEB EXTRA: Read the Global Gateway Alliance's data

"You see a great city in New York, but you see the absolute worst city in terms of performance at the airport -- people waiting one to five hours in delays," said Joseph Sitt of the Global Gateway Alliance. "We set the record."

Sitt is the founder of the alliance, which is promoting improvements at the three airports. He said expanding a satellite-based technology called NextGen would dramatically decrease delays.

"It's just shocking and embarrassing, as a New York resident, that we don't have it," Sitt said.

Sitt is also embarrassed at the general conditions at Newark, JFK and LaGuardia.

"Bangladesh has a better airport than LaGuardia," said air passenger Jon Lee Anderson.

The good news is that improvements are coming slowly. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey voted Thursday on a $4 billion plan to finally move LaGuardia into the 21st century.

But several more years of the 21st century will be over with before the LaGuardia project is complete. The most optimistic timetable has the new central terminal open in 2021.

Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye blamed the delays in part on the busy air space and recent harsh winters.

He told WCBS 880's Peter Haskell the agency has made a number of investments into improving taxiways, metering and technology to shave time off each flight operation. He's also anxious to see a new GPS-like technology called NextGen installed, but that will require billions of dollars of federal money.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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