Business & Tech

Logan delays back to normal levels after runway work completed

The resurfacing of a busy runway that caused big delays at Logan International Airport is finished, and travel times have returned to normal.
Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff
The resurfacing of a busy runway that caused big delays at Logan International Airport is finished, and travel times have returned to normal.

With reconstruction of a busy runway now complete, delays on flights in and out of Logan International Airport have dropped considerably.

During the six-week resurfacing of the runway the number of delayed flights at Logan increased significantly: Nearly 39 percent of flights arriving in Boston were delayed, as were about 32 percent of departures. But in the days since the resurfacing finished June 23, delays have returned to typical levels, with about 20 to 22 percent of arrivals and departures, on average, late by 15 minutes or more, according to data from the tracking service FlightAware.

The Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates Logan, said the runways were not the only factor in delays.

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“During that time, flights were impacted, not only by the necessary safety maintenance work on one of our major runways, but also by a series of weather systems both here in Boston and at other major airports,” Massport spokeswoman Kelly Smith said in a statement.

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Logan’s delay record during normal traffic periods is not out of line with other airports. About 19 percent of flights nationwide have been delayed this year, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The most common reasons are attributed to issues at the airlines themselves, with weather the second leading cause. Closed runways accounted for 4.75 percent of flight delays nationwide in the first four months of 2017, the bureau said.

Massport said the average delay related to the runway closure was about 70 minutes. But during the construction, some passengers — especially those flying into Boston — complained of delays that lasted three hours or longer.

Jack Lannan, a New Hampshire resident, said he waited an additional five hours in May for a JetBlue flight from West Palm Beach to Logan. The 3:20 p.m. flight was first delayed an hour before additional delays were tacked on, and he finally took off around 8:30 p.m., he said.

“They kept blaming Logan, and the Logan runway construction,” Lannan said. “They said, ‘They’re not letting us in.’”

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The closure also meant more planes had to travel on other runways, sending more flights over neighborhoods in and around Boston. Several neighborhoods and municipalities under Logan’s flight paths have complained about plane noise and frequency in recent years, and the increased frequency over some communities during the runway work compounded their problems.

While the runway has reopened, work continues on other aspects of the $35 million project, including replacing a wooden light pier at the end of the runway with a new concrete pier.

“Now that we are back to more normal operations, the rest of the project has been designed to minimize the impacts on delays to aircraft . . . other than typical causes of delays,” Smith said.

Adam Vaccaro can be reached at adam.vaccaro@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamtvaccaro.