JFK Redevelopment Project

After years of work, there is finally a comprehensive plan for a major overhaul of John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) endorsed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. JFK is one of the busiest airports in the nation; it handles nearly 62 million passengers a year and this figure is projected to grow to 75 million by 2030. To keep up with the growing demands for air transportation and transform JFK into a world-class 21st century airport, $13 billion has been invested to fund the project, $12 billion of which was financed by the private sector, mostly airlines. The remaining $1 billion will come from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The project is set to begin in 2020 and be completed in 2025 with the first new gates opening in 2023.

The main goals of the JFK Redevelopment Program are to increase the capacity of the airport by an estimated 15 million passengers per year, to consolidate the infrastructure so that travel within and around the airport is easier, and to modernize all of JFK.

New Terminals:

One of the key aspects of the project is the construction of two new terminals to replace existing Terminals 1, 2, and 7. The new terminals will be larger than those already existing, have state of the art technology, and better amenities. On the Southern end of the airport, the first new terminal will be developed by the Terminal One Group which is made up of Lufthansa, Air France, Japan Airlines, and Korean Air. It will have 23 international gates with all but one having the capacity to serve larger-bodied jets such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A380. To create space for this new terminal, Terminals 1 and 2 will be demolished and added to the space left vacant by previous demolition of Terminal 3. On the Northern end, JetBlue will construct a 1.2 million square foot terminal using the space where Terminal 7 currently is, as well as the vacant space from the demolition of Terminal 6 in 2011. The JetBlue terminal will have 12 international gates all able to accommodate wide-bodied jets.

Infrastructure:

In regards to infrastructure, the tangle of commuter roads at JFK will be replaced by two main ring roads called the North Loop and South Loop. Centralized parking lots will also be constructed within these loops to make parking options more clearly and easily accessible. To create a more unified airport, part of the plan includes interconnected terminals to improve travel within the airport. Outside of the airport, Governor Cuomo has set aside $1.5 to $2 billion for the State Department of Transportation to direct towards easing congestion on the Kew Gardens Interchange and the Van Wyck Expressway. Notably, this plan includes the development of a fourth lane in both directions on the Van Wyck Expressway between Kew Gardens and JFK. This lane will only be for vehicles with at least three passengers and for-hire vehicles with one or more passengers. Aside from this, the JFK Redevelopment Program will also expand mass transit to and from the airport. JFK’s AirTrain, which connects to both the LIRR and the subway, will increase from two to four cars per train. Improvements to amenities will also be made such as high-performance elevators and escalators, expanded walkways and charging stations.

Modernization:

Just last month on May 15th, the effort to revamp JFK into a modern, state of the art airport, began with the opening of the Trans World Airlines (TWA) Hotel at JFK International Airport. The historic Trans World Airlines terminal which was built in 1962 and closed to the public in 2001, was a groundbreaking architectural innovation that has now become the centerpiece of the 512-room hotel, the only on-site, AirTrain accessible hotel at JFK. To continue this modernization, Port Authority is planning to construct a new Kennedy Central Hub in JFKwhich could serve as either public open space, a cultural space, or a conference center. A Request For Proposals process will begin over the next few months to finalize a plan.

Community Benefits:

Beyond the major changes that will be made to the airport, the JFK Redevelopment Program will also have impacts on the economy. JFK is already a huge engine of the local economy, currently employing approximately 300,000 people. The redevelopment is expected to create about 9,600 more jobs when completed and create over 15,000 jobs throughout the length of the development. This could be extremely beneficial for Rockaway residents searching for employment. Similar to the efforts that were made with the redevelopment of LaGuardia, local officials are aiming for the bulk of new jobs to be given to residents of Queens. As such, a JFK Redevelopment Community Outreach office opened on Jamaica Avenue in March. The office was opened in order to involve the community in the development process of JFK Airport. It is open to the public and is meant to serve as the center of the community’s access to JFK’s job opportunities. In addition to this, Governor Coumo has called for a high proportion of the shops and businesses in JFK to be Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE).

The JFK Redevelopment Community Outreach office is located at 144-33 Jamaica Ave and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Thursdays it is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Overall, the JFK Redevelopment Program will considerably improve the practical quality of the airport; along with the changes outlined above, there will be free Wifi and various security enhancements. Furthermore, the project will dramatically change JFK’s look, revamping the airport with natural light, high ceilings, interior green space, and new exhibits presenting the work of local artists.