Last Thursday, President Obama was in Orlando to help promote U.S. tourism and announce the administration’s goal to ensure that America continues to be a top tourist destination.
One way to make sure our nation can compete effectively for tourist and business dollars is to help air travelers get where they're going as safely and conveniently as possible. So this morning, acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and I went to South Florida to help break ground on the Fort Lauderdale- Hollywood International Airport Runway Expansion.
This critical runway project has been a long time in the making. The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is the 22nd busiest in the nation, and about 22 million passengers fly in and out of FLL every year. FLL is also one of the fastest-growing airports in the nation. With this much traffic, it’s no wonder that the airport was often filled to capacity.
New runway construction at Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International will provide 11,000 jobs, and at its peak, the project will contribute more than $1 million each day to the local economy.
The project will extend, shift and lengthen Runway 9R/27L from 5,276 feet to 8,000 feet, giving the airport two parallel runways that can accommodate air carrier flights. Parallel runways can increase airport capacity dramatically. When completed, the expanded runway will accommodate 27% more flights into and out of FLL. That's an increase from 84 to 107 flights per hour.
This expansion is also that simple. It creates jobs. And it will allow for more flights. That means more revenue from travelers and more business interest in the greater Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood area.
Thanks to this expansion, flights will be significantly less likely to be stuck on the tarmac before taking off or circle endlessly above South Florida waiting for landing clearance. And thanks to this expansion, passengers will not be stuck on queued aircraft.
Americans have said it loud and clear: We can't wait. And thanks to this expansion, we won’t have to.