New York Airports have the worst surface access – new survey shows

Posted on in News Archive

USA: New York area airports continue to lag behind their international and national competitors when it comes to modern, efficient mass transit access, according to a new survey released by the Global Gateway Alliance (GGA), an organisation looking after NY metropolitan region’s airports and related infrastructure that.

GGA compared airport access at the world’s top 30 busiest airports for passenger traffic with those in the New York-New Jersey region. The survey zeroed in on one of the most important aspects of the passenger experience: how passengers get to and from the airport. And by ranking categories including total travel time, cost, mode of transport, and number of transfers at the world’s leading airports, GGA was able to establish which of these offer 21st Century transit access, and which do not.

Madrid-Barajas Airport came in first, scoring 95 out of 100, for its airport link, with a journey time of 16 minutes from the city centre and no transfers. Tied in second place were Amsterdam, Dubai and Frankfurt.

JFK Airport, tied with Denver, finished last with 30 points due to its 47-minute ride that included at least one transfer. At 40 points, its regional partners LaGuardia and Newark came in second to last place, alongside Los Angeles; Istanbul Atatürk; South Korea’s Incheon; and Soekarno–Hatta in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The survey comes on the heels of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announcing plans for a new AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport, the first direct rail access to the airport, and provides further evidence of the problem the region faces in moving passengers to and from our airports, which function as the largest aviation system in the country.

“Our survey demonstrates that Governor Cuomo’s proposal to finally bring train access to LaGuardia and the plan to extend the PATH directly to Newark Airport could not have come soon enough. But to truly be competitive, we need to bring more innovative access to all of our airports,” said GGA Chairman and Founder Joe Sitt. “The billions being invested in modernising our airports simply won’t pay off without 21st Century transit access to move passengers to and from these hubs, and that ultimately means a one-seat ride.”

The GGA survey reveals that not only are more and more airports stepping up and investing in their infrastructure – over half of all surveyed airports offer passengers a one-seat rail ride – but also that their efforts have been effective – the average travel time is just over 30 minutes. Because the bottom line is: the fewer the transfers and the lesser the travel time, the more appealing the access route is to the luggage-laden passenger.


  • The highest ranking US airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, ranking third.
  • The airport with the fastest travel time is Shanghai Pudong at 6 minutes, with the world’s first commercial Magnetic Levitation train that covers a distance of 19 miles. That train arrives at a Financial Center in Shanghai, where a transfer is available to access other central areas and downtown districts.
  • Denver, currently at the bottom of the survey, is constructing a one-seat rail line that is scheduled for completion in 2016.
  • LaGuardia is the only airport with a two-seat ride that included a bus.
  • The airport with the slowest travel time is Istanbul at 72 minutes.
  • While Houston offers a one seat bus ride, it has a journey time of over an hour and makes 44 stops before arriving in the City.
  • Over half – 56% – of all surveyed airports offer a one-seat rail ride and three quarters offer a one-seat ride either by rail or bus.

GGA Survey