New Terminal One at JFK Gets Green Light Once Again

By Kurt Stolz on 14 December 2021
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Security checkpoint at Terminal One at JFK

A new Terminal One at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport may finally take flight after numerous delays occasioned by the pandemic-induced decline in travel over the past two years.

Terminal One is currently owned and operated by four airlines, Air France, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, and Lufthansa.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unveiled an updated version of plans for a new 2.4-million-square-foot (222,968-square-meter) Terminal One at the airport.  As originally announced in November 2019, the 23-gate terminal will span the sites of the current Terminal One, Terminal 2, and the former Terminal 3.

“When it is done, it will be an experience that is worthy of the name New York and worthy of the name John F. Kennedy,” Hochul said Monday during a news conference at her Manhattan office.

The project was slated to start in 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic.  Construction is now expected to start in early 2022 and continue to the end of the decade.  In 2019, the estimated cost of the project was $7.4 billion, but according to the governor’s team, the deal needed to be “restructured” due to the reduction in air travel caused by pandemic.

Terminal 3 was the iconic Pan Am Worldport. Built by the “World’s Most Experienced Airline,” the Worldport ushered in the Jet Age upon its opening in 1960.  Its demolition was preceded by protests by preservationists and former Pan Am employees at the start of the 2010s.

Terminal 2, one of the two remaining terminals of the original Terminal City concept at the airport, opened in 1962 as the home of Northeast and Northwest airlines. It was later used by Pan Am and is currently used by Delta.

The new $9.5 billion Terminal One will provide a total of 23 gates, almost double the current number and have a capacity of 20 million passengers annually.

The plan calls for 24 security checkpoint lanes, 116,000 square feet (10,776 square meters) of airport lounge space, cultural exhibits, interior green space, and children’s play areas. It will be operated by Munich Airport International.

The original plans called for a connector to Terminal 4, which opened in 2001 and is home to over 30 non-U.S. airlines as well as Delta Air Lines but at press time it was not clear if this was in the updated plans as well.

The current Terminal 1 building, which first opened in 1998 and is considered undersized for its purpose, will continue to operate until the completion of the first phase of the construction of the new Terminal One building.

The massive undertaking will be funded through private money. Three investment and management firms, namely the Carlyle Group, Johnson Loop Capital Infrastructure, and Ullico, will put up $9.5 billion total in exchange for ownership shares.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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