Re-build John F. Kennedy International Airport. Transform New York City’s airport into one of most advanced in the world: a meeting place, an experience rather than a simple transit point. A traveller of the future will be able to experience the airport in a new way, enjoying it rather than just hurrying through – even spending a little time in a miniature version of Central Park.
Achieving this future scenario will cost $13 billion, according to a plan announced by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo at the start of October.
«While leaders in Washington talk about investing in infrastructure, we're actually doing it at historic levels and the transformation of JFK Airport into a 21st century transportation hub will ensure New York remains the nation's front door to the world», Cuomo said. «This historic investment to modernize JFK Airport and the surrounding transportation network will not only ease travel through this major hub, but it will ensure JFK joins the ranks as one of the finest airports in the world».
The investment will come almost entirely from the private sector ($12 billion out of a total of $13 billion). The airport will essentially be rebuilt from scratch. Two new terminals will rise on the north and south ends of the airport, which will have a total surface area of 4 million square feet, thereby increasing the passenger capacity by 15 million each year. According to the project’s timetable, the first gates will be ready in 2023, with overall completion slated for 2025.
The idea behind the new airport was laid out by Cuomo in January 2017 in the JFK Vision Plan, a strategic development planning document. It called for the demolition of the airport’s oldest terminals, which are located far from one another and connected by a complicated road network, and building new ones that can function as a unified airport.
Airlines to pay for new terminals
The construction of the two new terminals – which is the most costly part of the plan – will be paid for almost entirely by the airline companies. The cost of the terminal on the southern end of the airport will be covered by four international airlines: Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, Japan Airlines and Korean Air Lines. On the airport’s northern end, the terminal will be financed by JetBlue. In both cases, the infrastructure will be built after the old terminals are demolished since they are considered to be functionally obsolete for the passenger traffic.
Passengers are at the centre of this ambitious plan to overhaul JFK. Green spaces, exposition areas, shops, restaurants, conference rooms… all of these amenities will be available to passengers while they wait for their flights. A city outside of the city, where cutting-edge technology will be at the service of both the well-being and safety of travellers (the airport will introduce radiation detectors for “dirty” bombs and next-generation identification of unattended packages and luggage).
JFK Airport, an economic motor for New York City
Investing in JFK means investing in the development of New York City, as Governor Cuomo firmly believes. According to the governor’s office, the airport creates work for 300,000 people for a total of $16.2 billion in annual wages. Its retail and commercial activities generate $45.7 billion in sales from the 60 million passengers that travel through its gates each year. That number will rise to 75 million by 2030, according to forecasts. The new terminals will give a further boost to employment levels, according to the plan, creating 9,600 direct jobs and 15,000 during the life of the project.
«The reimagined, modernized JFK Airport will be the gateway that New Yorkers deserve, enabling continued passenger growth in the decades to come», said Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the New York Port Authority, which runs the airport.