JFK Airport is the primary gateway into North America, the 20th-busiest airport in the world, the 6th busiest airport in the USA, and the absolute busiest airport in New York. The airport served a record-breaking 62 million passengers in 2019, with over 90 airlines operating from within JFK airport.
The airport used to be called Idlewild Airport back when it opened in 1948. It has since been renamed to John F. Kennedy International Airport as a tribute to the late president following his assassination.
JFK Airport is located about 26km southeast of Midtown Manhattan in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens. It is the primary base of operations for JetBlue and a hub for many airlines such as American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. The airport also features 6 passenger terminals and 4 runways.
Over 62,000,000 passengers used JFK Airport in 2019. In 2020, JFK Airport experienced a large decrease in traffic due to the pandemic’s effect on the travel industry with only 8,000,000 passengers going through the airport. The airport is currently serving 813,935 passengers a month, representing a traffic increase of 1,478% compared to 2020. These number are only expected to get larger as more and more people resume traveling for business and pleasure.
JFK Airport was originally built to relieve LaGuardia Field, which had become overcrowded after opening in 1939. New York’s mayor at the time, Fiorella La Guardia, announced that the city had chosen a large marshland on Jamaica bay as the location for a new airfield in 1941 and construction began shortly after in 1943.
The airport was originally named after the Idlewild Beach Golf Course that it displaced even though only 1,000 acres of the course were earmarked for use, and about $60 million was spent on the project with governmental funding. The project was later renamed Major General Alexander E. Anderson Airport as a tribute to a Federalized National Guard unit commander and Queens resident Alexander E. Anderson. The name was officially changed to New York International Airport, Anderson Field in 1948, as it was intended to be the largest and most efficient airport in New York.
The airport was then renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport on the 24th of 1963, almost a month after the assassination of America’s 35th president. The change was proposed by New York’s mayor at the time, Robert F. Wagner II. The airport’s IDL and KIDL codes have since been reassigned to Indianola Municipal Airport in Mississippi.
In October 2018, Andrew Mark Cuomo, the former Governor of New York, released details of a $13 billion plan to rebuild passenger facilities and improve JFK Airport. Two new international terminals were planned. One of which would be a 23-gate structure intended to replace terminals 1 and 2. The terminal would be financed and built-in collaboration between Lufthansa, Korean Air, Munich Airport Group, Japan Airlines, and Air France.
Current New York Governor Kathy Hochul released an update on the plans to build a new international Terminal 1, which would cost $9.5 billion to further update and develop. This new terminal will be taking inspiration from the new Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport and will have NYC-inspired art implemented into its architecture and design.
The new international terminal is planned to be built in multiple phases on the sites of the current T1, T2, and T3. It is going to be 222,300m2, and it is planned to have 23 gates, a larger check-in hall, security and concessions areas, modern NYC-inspired designs, exhibits, architecture, and art. The terminal will also feature locally inspired retail outlets, restaurants, and bars.
Travelers will have access to multiple charging stations and free high-speed Wi-Fi available throughout the terminal. Several infrastructure upgrades are also included in the development plans such as road, parking, and utility improvements, as well as a new electrical substation.
The president of the Building and Construction Trades Council, Gary LaBarbera, said the following: “The plan for a new Terminal 1 at JFK International Airport will transform the facility into a world-class transportation hub while driving historic private investment into New York City and its working people with the creating of tens of thousands of middle-class careers during construction. We applaud Governor Hochul for her leadership in advancing this monumental project and look forward to getting to work to build a best-in-class, world-renowned facility.”
The new terminal will include many state-of-the-art features such as digital passenger flow and queues management, biometric-based systems, advanced video search analytics, and many other improvements aimed towards providing a touchless passenger journey. The terminal’s design is going to be flexible in order to accommodate any future developments or regulatory changes. The new terminal aims to improve utility, security, and sustainability by implementing the use of renewable energy wherever possible.
The new international terminal will be built in place of the small Terminal 1, the old Terminal 2, and the previously demolished Terminal 3. The terminal is going to be built in multiple phases based on international passenger traffic levels and is set to be completed sometime around 2030. Construction of the first phase is set to begin sometime in the middle of 2022 with the new arrivals and departures halls, as well as the first few new gates expected to open in 2026.
The development of this new and improved terminal is expected to bring in over 10,000 new job openings and more than 6,000 union construction jobs. New York’s current Governor, Kathy Hochul, said the following regarding the planned terminal: “As we recover from this pandemic, I want to ensure that everyone traveling to New York has a welcoming and streamlined experience and that New Yorkers have the modernized transportation hubs they deserve. The time to get large infrastructure projects done is now, and I’m committed to getting JFK’s brand-new Terminal 1 underway and completed as soon as possible”