LaGuardia’s Runway 13: A Known Danger for Over 18 Years
Policy + Politics

LaGuardia’s Runway 13: A Known Danger for Over 18 Years


If you ever needed yet another reason to invest in America’s infrastructure, the plane that slid off the runway on LaGuardia Airport today may be it. Pilots hate to land in LaGuardia because the runways are short. Some have said it’s like trying to land a 747 as if it were a helicopter.

The most egregious of LaGuardia’s runways is number 13 — a mere mile and half long — the one that Delta flight 1086 was forced to use during today’s snowstorm. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the plane could have careened into Flushing Bay had it not been for new technology that prevented it.

In June 1997, another Delta Airlines jet from Atlanta carrying 63 people “struck the concrete pier supporting the runway, ripping off its landing gear. The 75-ton plane skidded 2,700 feet on its nose wheel and belly. The Fuselage cleared the pier by only 16 inches,” according to a report in The New York Times.

That begs the question — why haven’t we built a new, modern accessible airport in New York City, the nation’s business capital? Reason: We don’t have an infrastructure plan because our federal government is paralyzed.

How many more “incidents” like this will it take before federal and state governments become serious about fixing essential problems in the United States? In 2010, LaGuardia was named the 8th Scariest airport to land, according to  

As one passenger told The New York Daily News about landing at LaGuardia, "It's like you're about to crash into the river! And if we did, it wouldn't be any 'Miracle on the Hudson' experience."

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