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Port Authority Airports Set New Passenger Record

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has broken its airport passenger record for the second straight year.

The agency announced Wednesday that preliminary data shows an estimated 117.1 million passengers used JFK, Newark Liberty, LaGuardia, Stewart and Atlantic City airports during 2014.

That tops the record set in 2013 by more 3 million fliers, or roughly a 3 percent jump.

The increase in passenger traffic fuels regional economic growth, with an estimated additional 4,000 jobs and $700 million in economic benefits whenever another million fliers are added to the airports' ranks.

Overall, passenger growth primarily was driven by international travel, which rose 6 percent. Domestic growth showed a 1.5 percent increase.

Systemwide, there were an estimated 75.2 million domestic and 41.9 million international fliers -- both new agency records.

JFK led the way with a record estimated 53.2 million passengers, while LaGuardia also set an airport high with 26.9 million travelers last year. Newark set another record with 11.7 million international passengers.

"These robust, record airline passenger travel numbers support the Port Authority's plans to invest over $8 billion dollars to modernize its airports over the coming decade," Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said. "Our gateway airports are major economic engines for the region, and an important source of job creation."

"The passenger records at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports confirm what we all know -- that air travel has bounced back quickly from the recession, and that the region benefits from this growth,'' said Regional Plan Association President Tom Wright. "More passengers traveling in and out of our airports means more jobs and opportunity for all of us. But in the long run, we can't sustain the growth in passenger volumes without significantly increasing capacity at our airports, from modernizing our air traffic control to improving airport access to building runways, terminals and gates on the ground."

(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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