Photo Courtesy of Kevin Coughlin/Office of the Governor; Renderings Courtesy of the Office of the Governor
“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,” Gov. Cuomo said.
By Michael V. Cusenza
An historic $13 billion plan promises to unify John F. Kennedy International Airport and transform it into a modern 21st century hub with best-in-class passenger amenities, centralized ground transportation options, and improved roadways, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday.
The record investment, which includes $12 billion in private funding, builds on the JFK Vision Plan that Cuomo unveiled in 2017. It calls for the overhaul of the patchwork eight disparate terminal sites in favor of two new terminal complexes on the north and south sides of the property. It also pledges to utilize vacant space and modernize on-airport infrastructure, the governor noted.
Additionally, the Vision Plan calls for increasing the number and size of gates, improving parking availability, an array of airside taxiway improvements to allow for bigger planes and reduced gate congestion, upgrading the AirTrain JFK system to handle increased passenger capacity (by at least 15 mill, and enhanced roadways on and off the airport. This includes better access to JFK from regional roadways—particularly the Van Wyck Expressway the Grand Central Parkway, and the Kew Gardens Interchange.
“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,” Cuomo said.
The proposed $7 billion, 2.9 million square-foot terminal on the airport’s south side will contain at least 24 security screening lanes; more than 230,000 square-feet of retail, dining and other concessions; 116,000 square-feet of airline lounges; and 55,000 square- feet of interior green space, children’s play areas and cultural exhibits. On the north side, the proposed $3 billion, 1.2 million square-foot terminal will be developed by JetBlue and feature 12 international gates, all of which will be able to accommodate larger, wide-body aircraft. It will boast 74,000 square-feet of retail, 30,000 square-feet of airline lounges, and 15,000 square-feet of recreational space as well.
Together, the new terminals are estimated to create more than 15,000 total jobs over the life of the project.
Plans call for the terminal areas to be linked by two main “ring roads,” a north loop and a south loop, which will make it easier to enter and exit the airport while providing easier access to the terminal complex areas on the airport’s north and south sides.
Off airport, the State Department of Transportation has targeted $1.5 billion in highway improvements designed to ease bottlenecks, particularly at the Kew Gardens Interchange with the Van Wyck Expressway.
Cuomo called the on- and off-airport roadway improvements “long, long overdue.”
“JFK has been outdated all of my life. I’m a Queens boy in case you can’t tell the accent,” the governor joked on Thursday. “But, in my home when the call went out, you have to pick someone up at JFK, it was drawing up the short straw. That was a torture.”
State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said the colossal project underscores the airport’s importance to the local economy.
“These upgrades will make a real difference in the lives of New Yorkers who frequent JFK, and for visitors whose first impression of the state is the moment they step off the plane,” he added.