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JFK airport

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JFK airport

For the regional airport in Wisconsin, see John F. Kennedy Memorial Airport.

John F. Kennedy International Airport
Terminal 4
WMO: 74486
Airport type Public
Owner City of New York[1]
Operator Port Authority of New York and New Jersey[1]
Serves New York City
Location Jamaica, Queens,

New York City, New York, United States

Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL 13 ft / 4 m
Coordinates 40°38′23″N 073°46′44″W / 40.63972°N 73.77889°W / 40.63972; -73.77889Coordinates: 40°38′23″N 073°46′44″W / 40.63972°N 73.77889°W / 40.63972; -73.77889

FAA airport diagram as of May 2013.
Location within New York City
Direction Length Surface
ft m
4L/22R 11,350 3,460 Asphalt
4R/22L 8,400 2,560 Asphalt
13L/31R 10,000 3,048 Asphalt
13R/31L 14,572 4,442 Concrete
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 60 18 Asphalt
H2 60 18 Asphalt
H3 60 18 Asphalt
H4 60 18 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Aircraft operations (ACI)[2] 408,913
Passengers (ACI)[2] 47,683,529
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[3]

John F. Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFKICAO: KJFKFAA LID: JFK) in the borough of Queens in New York City is owned by the City of New York and operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey under a long term operating lease. It is about 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Lower Manhattan. In 2011 it was the busiest international air passenger gateway in the United States, handling more international traffic than any other airport in North America.[4] It is also the third-leading freight gateway to the country by value of shipments.[5] In 2012, the airport handled 49,292,733 passengers,[2] making it the 17th busiest airport in the world and sixth busiest in the United States by passenger traffic. Together, JFK International, LaGuardia, and Newark International airports, all operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, are the largest airport system in the United States, second in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and first in the world by total flight operations. In the last few years it has made many improvements to terminals, roadways and inter-terminal transportation.[6]

Dedicated as New York International Airport in 1948,[7] the airport was more commonly known as Idlewild Airport until 1963, when it was renamed in memory of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.[8]

Over ninety airlines operate out of JFK. It is the base of operations for JetBlue Airways and is a major international gateway hub for American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. In the past, it has been a hub for Eastern Air Lines, Gemini Air Cargo,[9] National Airlines, Pan American World Airways and Trans World Airlines. It is one of only two airports in North America, the other being Toronto Pearson International Airport, with scheduled flights to all six inhabited continents.[10]



John F. Kennedy International Airport was originally Idlewild Airport (IATA: IDLICAO: KIDLFAA LID: IDL) after the Idlewild Golf Course that it displaced. It was built to relieve LaGuardia Airport which was crowded soon after opening in 1939. Construction began in 1943 by local firms such as the Edenwald Group headed by the late Charles Follini Sr. About $60 million was initially spent, but only 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land on the site of the Idlewild golf course were earmarked for use.[11]

The project was renamed Major General Alexander E. Anderson Airport in 1943 after a Queens resident who had commanded a Federalized National Guard unit in the southern United States and who had died in late 1942. In March 1948 the New York City Council changed it to New York International Airport, Anderson Field, but the common name was "Idlewild" until 1963.[12]

The Port Authority leased the airport property from the City of New York in 1947 and continues to maintain this lease today.[1] The first commercial flight at the airport was on July 1, 1948; the opening ceremony was attended by President Harry Truman.[11] The Port Authority cancelled foreign airlines' permits to use LaGuardia, effectively forcing them to move to the new airport during the next couple of years.[13]

The airport opened with six runways and a seventh under construction;[14] runways 1L and 7L were held in reserve and never came into use as runways. Runway 31R (originally 8,000 ft or 2,438 m) is still in use; runway 31L (originally 9,500 ft or 2,896 m) opened soon after the rest of the airport and is still in use; runway 1R closed in 1957 and runway 7R closed around 1966. Runway 4 (originally 8,000 ft, now runway 4L) opened June 1949 and runway 4R was added ten years later. A smaller runway 14/32 was constructed after runway 7R closed and was used through 1990.[15] This short runway was used by general aviation, STOL, and smaller commuter flights.

The Avro Jetliner landed at Idlewild on April 18, 1950 and maybe in January 1951; a Sud Aviation Caravelle prototype was the next jet airliner to land at Idlewild, on May 2, 1957. Later in 1957 the USSR sought approval for two Tupolev Tu-104 flights carrying Soviet diplomats to Idlewild; the Port Authority did not allow them, saying noise tests had to be done first. (The Caravelle had been tested at Paris.)The airport was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 24, 1963, one month after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.[16]


The Port of New York Authority originally planned a single 55-gate terminal, but the major airlines did not agree with this plan, arguing that the terminal would be far too small for future traffic.[17] Architect Wallace Harrison then designed a master plan under which each major airline at the airport would be given its own space to develop its own terminal design.[18] This scheme made construction more practical, made terminals more navigable and introduced incentives for airlines to compete with each other for the best design.[17] The revised plan met airline approval in 1955, with seven terminals initially planned—five for individual airlines, one developed for 3 airlines, and an international arrivals building. (National Airlines and British Airways arrived later.)[12]

  • The International Arrivals Building, or IAB, was the first new terminal project at the airport, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and opening in December 1957. Stretching nearly 700 meters (2,300 ft) parallel to runway 7R where Terminal 4 is now, it had "finger" piers at right-angles to the main building. These allowed a greater number of aircraft to park, a major innovation at the time.[12]
  • United Airlines opened Terminal 7 (later renumbered Terminal 9), a Skidmore design similar to that of the IAB, in October 1959. Eastern Airlines opened its Chester L. Churchill-designed Terminal 1 one month later.[12][19]
  • American Airlines opened Terminal 8 in 1960. The terminal was designed by Kahn and Jacobs[12] and had a 317 feet (97 m) stained glass facade designed by Robert Sowers, the largest stained glass installation in the world until 1979. The facade was removed in 2007 as the terminal was demolished to make room for the new Terminal 8; American cited the prohibitive cost of removing the enormous installation.[20]
  • Pan American World Airways opened the Worldport (later Terminal 3) in 1960. It featured a large, elliptical roof suspended by 32 sets of radial posts and cables; the roof extended 114 feet (35 m) beyond the base of the terminal to cover the passenger loading area. It was one of the first airline terminals in the world to feature Jetways that connected to the terminal and that could be moved to provide an easy walkway for passengers from the terminal to a docked aircraft, rather than having to board the plane outside via airstairs, which descend from an aircraft, via truck-mounted mobile stairs, or via wheeled stairs.[21]
  • Trans World Airlines opened the TWA Flight Center in 1962, designed by Eero Saarinen with a distinctive winged-bird shape. With the demise of TWA in 2001, the terminal remained vacant until 2005 when JetBlue Airways and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) financed the construction of a new 26-gate terminal partly encircling the Saarinen building. Called now Terminal 5 (or simply T5), the new terminal opened October 22, 2008. T5 is connected to the Saarinen central building through the original passenger departure-arrival tubes which connected the building to the outlying gates; the Port Authority is working on restorations to the remaining original Saarinen terminal, also known as the head house.[22]
  • Northwest Airlines, Braniff International and Northeast Airlines opened a joint terminal in 1962 (now Terminal 2).[21]
  • National Airlines opened the Sundrome (now Terminal 6) in 1970. The terminal was designed by I.M.Pei. It was unique for its use of all-glass mullions dividing the window sections, unprecedented at the time.[23] In 2001, United Airlines planned to redevelop this terminal and the TWA Flight Center as a new United terminal,[24] Terminal 6 was used by JetBlue Airways from 2001 through 2008 and vacated and demolished when JetBlue moved to Terminal 5.

JFK was designed for aircraft up to 300,000-pound (140,000 kg) gross weight[25] and had to be modified in the late 1960s to accommodate Boeing 747s.[26]

In 1951 Idlewild averaged 73 daily airline operations (takeoffs plus landings); the October 1951 Airline Guide shows nine domestic departures a day, on National and Northwest. (Some of TWA's transatlantic flights had domestic segments but carried no domestic passengers.) When Newark closed in February 1952 much of its traffic moved to Idlewild, which averaged 242 daily airline operations in 1952. L-1049 Constellations and DC-7s appeared in 1951–53 and didn't use LGA for their first several years, bringing more traffic to IDL. The April 1957 OAG shows two departures a week on Aerolineas Argentinas, 24 on Air France, 164 American, 6 Avianca, 42 BOAC and BWIA, 35 Capital, 7 Cubana, 252 Eastern, 2 El Al, 2 Iberia, 7 Icelandic, 17 KLM, 2 LAI, 6 LAV, 9 Lufthansa, 156 National, 75 Northwest, 131 Pan American, 9 Sabena, 26 SAS, 6 Swissair, 95 Trans-Canada, 115 TWA, 90 United and 3 Varig. (For most airlines the counts are for the beginning of April, but some transatlantic airlines only show their expanded schedules starting later in the month.)

Airlines began scheduling jets into Idlewild in 1958–59; LaGuardia didn't get jet airliners until 1964, so Idlewild soon became New York's busiest airline airport. In 1962–67 it had more airline takeoffs and landings than LGA and EWR combined and was the second-busiest airline airport in the country, peaking at 403,981 airline operations in 1967. During 1960–66 LaGuardia got a new terminal and longer runways, and by the middle 1970s the two airports had roughly equal passenger airline traffic (by flight count, not passenger count). (Until the 1980s Newark was always third place, except during LGA's reconstruction.) The supersonic Concorde, operated by Air France and British Airways, provided scheduled trans-Atlantic supersonic service to JFK from November 22, 1977 until October 24, 2003, when Concorde was retired by both carriers.[27][28][29]

JFK went through a $10.3 billion redevelopment. Construction of the AirTrain JFK rapid transit system began in 1998; completed in December 2003, the rail network links each airport terminal to New York City subways and regional commuter trains at Howard Beach and Jamaica, Queens. The airport opened a new Terminal 1 on May 28, 1998, and the $1.4 billion replacement for the International Arrivals Building, Terminal 4, opened on May 24, 2001.[30][31] Construction has been completed on JetBlue Airways's new Terminal 5, which incorporates the historic landmark TWA Flight Center terminal, while Terminals 8 and 9 were recently demolished and rebuilt as a unified Terminal 8 for the American Airlines hub. In 2008 the Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved a $20 million planning study for the much needed redevelopment of Terminals 2 and 3, the hub of Delta Air Lines.[32]

On March 19, 2007 JFK became the first airport in the United States to receive the Airbus A380 with passengers aboard. The route, with capacity for more than 500 passengers was operated by Lufthansa and Airbus and arrived at Terminal 1. On August 1, 2008 JFK received the first regularly scheduled commercial A380 flight to the United States, on Emirates' New York – Dubai route using Terminal 4.[33] This service was suspended in 2009, due to poor demand;[34] they re-introduced the aircraft in November 2010. Other airlines that operate the A380 to JFK include Singapore Airlines on the New York – Frankfurt – Singapore route, Air France on the New York – Paris-Charles de Gaulle route, Lufthansa on the New York – Frankfurt route and Korean Air on the New York – Seoul route.[35]

Previous terminals

Eastern Air Lines terminal

This terminal, on the site of today's Terminal 1, opened in 1959 and was demolished in 1995 after the collapse of Eastern Air Lines in 1991.

Terminal 3 (Worldport)

Terminal 3 was built as the Worldport in 1960 for Pan American; it expanded after the introduction of the 747 in 1970. After Pan Am's demise in 1991 Delta Air Lines took over ownership of the terminal and was its only occupant until its closure in 2013, and had a connector to Terminal 2, Delta's other terminal. Terminal 3 had 16 Jetway equipped gates: 1–10, 12, 14–18 with two hardstand gates (Gate 11) and a helipad on Taxiway 'KK'.

A $1.2 billion project was completed in 2013, which Terminal 4 was expanded with Delta is moving its T3 operations to T4. T3 will be entirely demolished in 2015 (including the 'flying saucer' roof) to provide additional aircraft parking stands to speed up ground handling.

On May 23, 2013 the final departure from the terminal, Delta Air Lines Flight 268, a Boeing 747-400 to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport, departed from Gate 6 at 11:25pm local time. The terminal ceased operations on May 24, 2013, 53 years to the day from when it opened on May 24, 1960.[36]

There has been large media outcry, particularly in other countries, concerning the demolition of the Worldport. Several online petitions requesting the restoration of the original 'flying saucer' have gained popularity.[37][38][39][40]

Terminal 6 (Sundrome)

Main article: Sundrome
Terminal 6 had 14 gates. Designed by I. M. Pei, it was built in 1970 as the National Airlines Sundrome. Later, Trans World Airlines used it. In 2001, JetBlue Airways began service from Terminal 6, later opening a temporary complex in 2006 that increased its capacity by adding seven gates. After JetBlue vacated the terminal, these were demolished.[41] The original building has been demolished to allow for an extension of Terminal 5 dedicated to JetBlue international service, Terminal 5i.[42][43]

Old Terminal 8 and 9

The original Terminal 8 opened in 1960; its stained-glass facade was the largest in existence at the time. It was always used by American Airlines, and in later years it was used by other oneworld airlines that did not use Terminal 7. Terminal 9 opened in 1959 and was used by United Airlines[12] until it vacated the terminal in 1991 and became a tenant at British Airways' Terminal 7. Terminal 9 then became the home of American Airlines' domestic operations and American Eagle flights for the remainder of its life. The terminals were demolished in the early-to-mid-2000s and replaced with a new Terminal 8.

Tower Air terminal

The Tower Air terminal, unlike other terminals at JFK airport, sat outside the Central Terminals area in Building 213 in Cargo Area A. Originally used by Pan Am until the expansion of the Worldport (later Terminal 3), it was later used by Tower Air and twa shuttle until the airline's collapse in 2000. Building 213 has not been used since 2000. It is located next to the Delta Air Lines employees parking lot number 7 which was once the Tower Air terminal parking lot.

Runways and operational infrastructure

Four runways (two pairs of parallel runways) surround the airport's central terminal area.[44]

Number Length Width ILS Notes
13R–31L 14,511 feet (4,423 m) 200 feet (61 m) Cat. I (31L) Second-longest commercial runway in North America (the longest is a 16,000 feet (4,900 m) runway at Denver International Airport). Adjacent to Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Handled approximately one half of the airport's scheduled departures. It was a backup runway for space shuttle missions.[45] It was closed on March 1, 2010 for four months. The reconstruction of the runway widened it from 150 feet (46 m) to 200 feet (61 m) with a concrete base instead of asphalt. It reopened on June 29, 2010.[46]
4R–22L 8,400 feet (2,560 m) 200 feet (61 m) Cat. III (both directions) Equipped at both ends with Approach Lighting Systems (ALS) with sequenced flashers, and touchdown zone (TDZ) lighting. The first Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS) in North America was installed at the northeast end of the runway in 1996. The bed consists of cellular cement material, which can safely decelerate and stop an aircraft that overruns the runway. The arrestor bed concept was originated and developed by the Port Authority and installed at JFK Airport as a joint research and development project with the FAA and industry.
4L–22R 11,350 feet (3,460 m) 150 feet (46 m) Cat. I (both directions) Adjacent to Terminals 4 and 5. Both ends allow instrument landings down to three-quarters of a mile visibility. Takeoffs can be conducted with one-eighth of a mile visibility.
13L–31R 10,000 feet (3,048 m) 150 feet (46 m) Cat. II (13L); Cat. I (31R) Equipped at both ends with ILS and ALS systems. Runway 13L has two additional visual aids for landing aircraft, a Visual Approach Slope Indicator System (VASI) and a Lead-In Lighting System (LDIN). The ILS on 13L, along with TDZ lighting, allows landings down to half a mile visibility. Takeoffs can be made with visibility of one-eighth of a mile.

JFK has over 25 miles (40 km) of taxiways to move aircraft in and around the airfield. The standard width of these taxiways is 75 feet (23 m), with 25-foot (7.6 m) heavy-duty shoulders and 25-foot (7.6 m) erosion control pavements on each side. The taxiways have centerline lights and are generally of asphalt concrete composition 15 to 18 inches (460 mm) thick. An illuminated sign system provides directional information for taxiing aircraft.

The Air Traffic Control Tower, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and constructed on the ramp-side of Terminal 4, began full FAA operations in October 1994.[47] An Airport Surface Detection Equipment (ASDE) radar unit sits atop the tower. A gas-fired electric cogeneration plant generates electricity for the airport, with an output of about 90 megawatts. It uses thermal energy from the capture of waste heat to heat and cool all of the passenger terminals and other facilities in the central terminal area.[48]

Aircraft service facilities include seven aircraft hangars, an engine overhaul building, a 32-million-US-gallon (120,000 m3) aircraft fuel storage facility, and a truck garage.


JFK has six terminals (ten until the late 1990s, then nine until the early 2000s, followed by eight until 2011 and seven until May 2013) containing 151 gates, numbered 1–8, but skipping Terminal 6, the former Sundrome, which was demolished in 2011 after Terminal 5 was expanded (the number will remain disused and skipped). Terminal 3, which is closed but still standing at this time, will also be a disused and skipped number when demolished.

The terminal buildings, with the exception of the former Tower Air terminal, are arranged in a deformed U-shaped wavy pattern around a central area containing parking, a power plant, and other airport facilities. The terminals are connected by the AirTrain system and access roads. Wayfinding signage throughout the terminals was designed by Paul Mijksenaar.[49] A 2006 survey by J.D. Power and Associates in conjunction with Aviation Week found JFK ranked second in overall traveller satisfaction among large airports in the United States, behind McCarran International Airport which serves the Las Vegas metropolitan area.[50]

Until the early 1990s, the terminals were known by the primary airlines that served it, except for Terminal 4, which was known as the International Arrivals Building. In the early 1990s, all of the terminals were given numbers except for the Tower Air terminal, which sat outside the Central Terminals area and was not numbered. Like in the other airports controlled by the Port Authority, terminals are sometimes managed and maintained by independent terminal operators. At JFK, all terminals are currently managed by airlines or consortiums of the airlines serving them, with the exception of the Schiphol Group-operated Terminal 4. All terminals except Terminal 2 can handle international arrivals.

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 was opened in 1998, 50 years after the opening of JFK, at the direction of the Terminal One Group, a consortium of four key operating carriers: Air France, Japan Airlines, Korean Air and Lufthansa.[51] This partnership was founded after the four airlines reached agreement that existing international carrier facilities were inadequate for their needs.[52][53][54] It was designed by William Nicholas Bodouva + Associates.[55] Terminal 1, along with Terminal 4, has the capability to handle the superjumbo Airbus A380 aircraft, which are flown by Air France on the route from Paris Charles De Gaulle, Lufthansa on the route from Frankfurt Airport and Korean Air on the route from Incheon Airport. Air France operated Concorde here until 2003. Terminal 1 has 11 gates.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 opened in 1962 as the home of Northeast Airlines, Braniff and Northwest Airlines, and is now exclusively used and operated by Delta Air Lines. After the demise of Northeast Airlines and Braniff, the building was taken over by Pan American World Airways, and subsequently by Delta. Since the opening of the Terminal 4 addition in May 2013, Terminal 2 has been designated as the "C" gates by Delta, and has 8 Jetway-equipped gates (C60-C63, C67-C70) and 17 stands for Delta Connection carriers (C64A–H, C64J, C66K–N, C66P–S). The project was approved by the Port Authority on August 5, 2010.[56] T2 will be closed once Phase Two of the T4 expansion is completed by 2015.[57]

Terminal 4

Terminal 4 is able to handle the Airbus A380 and was developed by LCOR, Inc and is managed by JFK International Air Terminal (IAT) LLC, a subsidiary of the Schiphol Group. This terminal serves as a major international hub for Delta Air Lines and was the first one in the United States to be managed by a foreign airport operator. Terminal 4 is the major gateway for international arrivals at JFK. Opened in 2001 and designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill,[58] the 1,500,000-square-foot (140,000 m2) building was built at a cost of $1.4 billion and replaced JFK's old International Arrivals Building, or simply IAB, which opened in 1957.

Terminal 4 has 26 gates in two concourses: A2–A7, B20, B22–B41. As of 2013, Delta and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agreedNew York City Industrial Development Agency.

Concourse A has six gates, numbered A2–A7. Concourse B has twenty gates, numbered B20–B41, with the exclusion of B21. As Terminal 4 was built during the construction of the AirTrain, the AirTrain station was built inside the terminal building. Other AirTrain stations are built across from terminal buildings. Delta Air Lines has also moved much of its operations to T4, as it expands operations beyond T2, with T3 now closed.

The terminal was recently expanded. The first phase of Delta’s $1.4 billion project at the airport[57][61]—which includes nine new international gates, additional baggage space, a centralized security checkpoint (moving two checkpoints into one location just after check-in), and customs and border-security facilities—was completed on May 24, 2013. Terminal 4 also serves many international airlines daily, including Swiss International, Asiana Airlines, Singapore Airlines, EgyptAir, Emirates, Pakistan International, Kuwait Airways and Etihad Airways.

Terminal 5

Main article: TWA Flight Center

Terminal 5 opened in 2008 for JetBlue Airways, the manager and primary (then only) tenant of the building, and serves as the base of their large JFK hub. The terminal was re-designed by Gensler and constructed by Turner Construction, and it is known for its many gift shops and gourmet restaurants, including a steak house and a sushi restaurant. It sits behind the preserved Eero Saarinen-designed terminal originally known as the TWA Flight Center, which is now connected to the new structure and is considered part of T5. The Saarinen building is currently closed for refurbishment; it is unclear when the building will reopen or what purpose it will have. Saarinen also designed the terminal at Washington Dulles International Airport. The active T5 building has 26 gates: 1–12, 14–27. There is no gate 13 at T5. The terminal is also used by Hawaiian Airlines, which announced a partnership agreement with JetBlue and began service in Terminal 5 in June 2012.[62] Aer Lingus moved to the terminal from Terminal 4 on April 3, 2013.[63] On May 31, 2012, JetBlue announced that the Port Authority had approved an expansion to T5 in order to accommodate international arrivals, where as now non-cleared international JetBlue flights arrive at Terminal 4. The new area will be known as T5i and is tentatively scheduled for completion in 2015.[43] T5i will sit on part of the footprint of the demolished T6.

Terminal 7

Terminal 7 was designed by GMW Architects[64] and built for BOAC and Air Canada in 1970. It is currently operated by British Airways. This terminal is the only airport terminal operated by a foreign carrier on US soil, though Terminal 1 is operated by a consortium of foreign carriers serving the building. A variety of Oneworld alliance carriers operate out of Terminal 7 at this time, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Iberia (which is owned by the same parent company as British Airways), and Qantas. Star Alliance carriers United Airlines and ANA also use the terminal. Between 1989 and 1991, the terminal was renovated and expanded at a cost of $120 million.[65] The expansion was designed by William Nicholas Bodouva + Associates, Architects.[55] In 1997, the Port Authority approved British Airways' plans to renovate and expand the terminal. The $251 million project was designed by Corgan Associates[66] and was completed in 2003.[67] The renovated terminal has 12 gates.[68] On May 21, 2008, British Airways announced that it would undertake a $30 million, 18-month-long project to enhance its premium ground facilities at the terminal.

British Airways is currently evaluating the future of Terminal 7, as its lease with the Port Authority ends in 2015. After the alliance between BA/Iberia and American Airlines was finalized in 2010, American began talks to move BA and Iberia into an expanded Terminal 8.[69] BA temporarily moved one of its flights to Terminal 8 in March 2013 due to ongoing renovation work in Terminal 7.[70]

Terminal 8

In 1999, American Airlines began an eight-year program to build the largest passenger terminal at JFK, designed by DMJM Aviation to replace both Terminal 8 and Terminal 9. The new terminal was built in four phases, which involved the construction of a new midfield concourse, demolition of the old Terminal 9, and finally demolition of the old Terminal 8. It opened in stages between 2005 and had its "official" opening in August 2007.[71] It is a major Oneworld hub, and American Airlines is the major Oneworld carrier at Terminal 8. American is the largest carrier in and manager of the terminal, and is the third largest carrier at JFK. In addition to operations at Terminal 7, some Oneworld airlines including Finnair, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Air Berlin and LAN Airlines (and its affiliates)[72] operate out of Terminal 8. Future members, Qatar Airways, TAM Airlines, and US Airways also operate their flights out of Terminal 8.

The terminal is twice the size of Madison Square Garden. It offers dozens of retail and food outlets, 84 ticket counters, 44 self-service kiosks, 10 security checkpoint lanes and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility that can process more than 1,600 people an hour. Terminal 8 has an annual capacity of 12.8M passengers.[73] It has two American Airlines Admirals Clubs and a Flagship Lounge for premium class passengers.

Terminal 8 has 29 gates: 12 gates in Concourse B (1–8, 10, 12, 14, and 16) and 17 gates in Concourse C (31–47).[74] Gate 31 is further subdivided into 5 regional service gates for small jets, 31A–31E. Gate 32 is subdivided into 4 regional service gates for small jets, 32F–32I. The total number of jetbridges is, therefore, 36. Passenger access to Concourse C is by an underground tunnel which includes moving walkways. Of interest are a history of American Airlines logos on display between the security checkpoint and the concourses.

Airlines and destinations


  • ^a International arrivals not from pre-cleared destinations are currently handled at Terminal 4, while all other flights are handled at Terminal 5.
  • ^b Qantas flights to Sydney stop in Los Angeles. However, Qantas does not have the rights to transport passengers solely between New York and Los Angeles and thus only carries passengers continuing on Qantas flights to Australia.

Airport hotel

As of May 2013, there is no operating hotel on the airport premises. The former Ramada Plaza JFK Hotel is Building 144.[75][76] The hotel, with 478 rooms,[77] was the only on-site hotel at JFK Airport.[78] It was previously a part of Forte Hotels and previously the Travelodge New York JFK.[79] After the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996, relatives of TWA 800 passengers and crew, as well as the media, gathered at the hotel.[80] Many waited until the remains of their family members had been recovered, identified and released.[81][82] For several years the Port Authority leased the building and site to the hotel's owners,[78] Westmont Hospitality Group. A spokesperson for PANYNJ said that Westmont Hospitality Group decided not to renew the lease for 2009.[83] After the lease expired in late 2008, the PANYNJ became the owners of the building.[78] PANYNJ hired Highgate Holdings to operate the hotel for one year.[83] In 2009 the PANYNJ stated in its preliminary 2010 budget that it was closing the hotel due to "declining aviation activity and a need for substantial renovation" and that it expected to save $ 1 million per month.[84] The hotel was scheduled to close on December 1, 2009. Almost 200 employees were to lose their jobs. As of 2009, the Port Authority hoped to build a new hotel on the airport property.[83]

Other facilities

North American Airlines has its headquarters in Building 141 along Federal Circle, on the airport property.[85] North American Airlines is one of the building's tenants; the building also has Servisair and VOA as tenants and Port Authority storage,[86] and serves as a storage lot for airport buses. Building 141 was originally a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) administration building.[87] In the 1990s it served as the PANYNJ police headquarters.[88] In 2000 an $800,000, 5,000 square feet (460 m2) annex of the building opened to serve students of Aviation High School in Long Island City.[87] In 2003 Building 141 was dedicated in honor of Morris Sloane, a PANYNJ aviation employee.[89]

Servisair has its offices in Building 86.[86]

CAL Cargo Airlines has its offices in Building 23.[90]

Currently Nippon Cargo Airlines has its New York City branch in Cargo Building 66.[91] Previously it was in Building 79.[92]

When Tower Air existed, its head offices were in Building 178 and later in Hangar 17 at JFK Airport.[93][94] When Metro International Airways existed, its head office was in Building 178.[95]

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department (PAPD) provides law enforcement and fire rescue services to the airport. Its operations at JFK are based in Building 269.

PANYNJ operations and administrative offices are located in Building 14, along with general aviation.

Information services

In the immediate vicinity of the airport, parking and other information can be obtained by tuning to a highway advisory radio station at 1630 AM.[96] A second station at 1700 AM provides information on traffic concerns for drivers leaving the airport.

Kennedy Airport, along with the other Port Authority airports (LaGuardia and Newark), uses a uniform style of signage throughout the airport properties. Yellow signs direct passengers to airline gates, ticketing and other flight services; green signs direct passengers to ground transportation services, and black signs lead to restrooms, telephones and other passenger amenities. In addition, the Port Authority operates "Welcome Centers" and taxi dispatch booths in each airline terminal, where staff provide customers with information on taxis, limousines, other ground transportation and hotels.

New York City traffic reporter Bernie Wagenblast provides the voice for the airport's radio stations and the messages heard on board AirTrain JFK and in its stations.[97]

Traffic and statistics

In 2012, JFK handled 49,292,733 passengers.[98]

The airport contributes about $30.1 billion in economic activity to the New York City region, generating 229,000 jobs and about $9.8 billion in wages and salaries. About 35,000 people are employed at the airport.[99]

In 2011, the ten carriers with the largest percentage of passengers flying into, out of, or through JFK are as follows:

Top Carriers (2011)[100]
Carrier Domestic
Total  %
JetBlue Airways 9,267,109 2,162,125 11,429,234 24.0%
Delta Air Lines 7,238,481 4,187,581 11,426,062 23.9%
American Airlines 4,683,941 3,506,997 8,190,938 17.2%
British Airways 1,177,468 1,177,468 2.5%
United Airlines 982,819 982,819 2.1%
Virgin America 962,416 962,416 2.0%
Air France 900,374 900,374 1.8%
Cathay Pacific 684,069 684,069 1.5%
Lufthansa 575,732 575,732 1.2%
Caribbean Airlines 566,342 566,342 1.2%

Nearly 100 airlines from over 50 countries operate regularly scheduled flights from JFK. The JFK-London Heathrow route is the leading U.S. international airport pair with over 2.6 million passengers in 2011. Domestic travel also accounts for a large share of airport traffic, particularly transcontinental and Florida service.[4]

Busiest International Routes from JFK (2011)[101]
Rank Airport Passengers 2011 Top Carriers
1 United Kingdom London (Heathrow), United Kingdom 2,678,991 American, British Airways, Delta, Kuwait Airways, Virgin Atlantic
2 France Paris (Charles de Gaulle), France 1,634,000 Air France, American, Delta, XL Airways France
3 Spain Madrid (Barajas), Spain 688,312 Air Europa, American, Delta, Iberia
4 Dominican Republic Santiago, Dominican Republic 654,625 American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue
5 Dominican Republic Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 648,923 American, Delta, JetBlue
6 Germany Frankfurt, Germany 638,261 Delta, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines
7 Israel Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion), Israel 627,321 Delta, El Al
8 Japan Tokyo (Narita), Japan 615,649 American, ANA, Delta, JAL
9 Brazil São Paulo (Guarulhos), Brazil 550,653 American Airlines, Delta, TAM Airlines
10 Netherlands Amsterdam, Netherlands 537,645 Delta, KLM
Busiest Domestic Routes from JFK (February 2012 – January 2013)[102]
Rank Airport Passengers Top Carriers
1 Los Angeles, California 1,586,000 American, Delta, JetBlue, United, Virgin America
2 San Francisco, California 1,112,000 American, Delta, JetBlue, United, Virgin America
3 Orlando, Florida 699,000 American, Delta, JetBlue
4 San Juan, Puerto Rico 649,000 American, Delta, JetBlue
5 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 526,000 American, Delta, JetBlue
6 Las Vegas, Nevada 518,000 American, Delta, JetBlue, Virgin America
7 Boston, Massachusetts 512,000 American, Delta, JetBlue
8 Miami, Florida 507,000 American, Delta
9 Buffalo, New York 332,000 Delta, JetBlue
10 Tampa, Florida 298,000 American, Delta, JetBlue


When ranked by the value of shipments passing through it, JFK is the number three freight gateway in the United States (after the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of New York and New Jersey), and the number one international air freight gateway.[5] Almost 21% of all U.S. international air freight by value and 9.6% by tonnage moved through JFK in 2008.[103]

The JFK air cargo complex is a Foreign Trade Zone which legally lies outside the customs area of the United States.[104] JFK is a major hub for air cargo between the United States and Europe. London, Brussels and Frankfurt are JFK's three top trade routes.[105] The European airports are mostly a link in a global supply chain, however. The top destination markets for cargo flying out of JFK in 2003 were Tokyo, Seoul and London. Similarly, the top origin markets for imports at JFK were Seoul, Hong Kong, and Taipei, with London taking the fourth spot.[105]

Nearly 100 cargo air carriers operate out of JFK,[105] among them: Air China Cargo, ABX Air, Asiana, Atlas Air, CAL Cargo Air Lines, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific Cargo, China Airlines, EVA Air, Emirates SkyCargo, Evergreen International Airlines, Nippon Cargo Airlines, FedEx Express, DHL Air UK, Kalitta Air, Korean Air, Lufthansa Cargo, United Cargo, UPS, Southern Air, World Airways. Top 5 carriers together transported 33.1% of all “revenue” freight in 2005: American Airlines (10.9% of the total), FedEx Express (8.8%), Lufthansa Cargo (5.2%), Korean Air Cargo (4.9%), China Airlines (3.8%).[106]

Most cargo and maintenance facilities at JFK are located north and west of the main terminal area. DHL, FedEx Express, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, Nippon Cargo Airlines and United Airlines have cargo facilities at JFK.[105][107] In 2000, Korean Air Cargo opened a new $102 million cargo terminal at JFK with total floor area of 81,124 square feet (7,536.7 m2) and capability of handling 200,000 tons annually.[108] In 2007, American Airlines opened a new priority parcel service facility at their Terminal 8, featuring 30-minute drop-offs and pick-ups for priority parcel shipments within the US.[109]

Scheduled cargo airlines


Ground transportation


JFK Airport is connected to New York City Subway and Long Island Rail Road by AirTrain JFK. It stops at all terminals, parking lots, hotel shuttle areas, car rental lots, the Jamaica LIRR station, Howard Beach - JFK Airport on the IND Rockaway Line (A train), and Sutphin Boulevard - Archer Avenue - JFK Airport on the Archer Avenue Line (E, J, and Z trains). A Lower Manhattan – Jamaica/JFK Transportation Project has been proposed to connect the AirTrain to Lower Manhattan.


Several city bus lines link JFK to the New York City Subway and Long Island Rail Road, including the Q3, Q6 (Local/Limited), Q7, Q10 (Local/Limited), and B15, with free transfers provided for subway connections. The B15, Q3, and Q10 buses all serve the Central Terminal Area via a dedicated bus stop at the former Terminal 6 (connection to other terminals via AirTrain JFK, with a direct walkway provided to Terminal 5), while the Q6 serves only eastern Cargo Area D and the USPS Airport Mail facility, and the Q7 serves only Cargo Area C. There are also many private bus lines operating express buses to Manhattan, the Hudson Valley, and Long Island.

The Port Authority provides free shuttle bus service between the Federal Circle AirTrain station and the airport's cargo areas, as well as within the long term and Port Authoirty-operated employee parking lots. These buses are operated by Servisair under contract.


New York City's yellow cabs, licensed by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, offer a flat rate service of $52 from JFK airport to Manhattan, excluding tips and tolls. Since November 30, 2006, this flat rate fare (excluding tips and tolls) applies to travel from Manhattan to JFK as well. Depending on the time of day, taxi travel from JFK to Midtown Manhattan can be as quick as 35 minutes. Door-to-door Car Service is another popular transportation option.


JFK Airport is located in southern Queens on the Van Wyck Expressway (I-678), which can be accessed from the Belt Parkway, the Grand Central Parkway and Queens Boulevard. A ring road connects the airport terminals to the Belt Parkway and the Van Wyck Expressway. The airport offers customers over 17,000 parking spaces, included in multi-level parking garages, surface spaces in the Central Terminal Area, a long-term parking lot and valet parking.[110] There are also private off-site parking operators near the airport.

Van Wyck Expressway twists through the terminal nucleus and turns into the JFK Expressway. This four-lane expressway allows for more convenient access to the airport for Long Island users via the westbound Belt Parkway. Because it lies almost entirely within Kennedy Airport, the JFK Expressway was constructed, and is maintained by the Port Authority. The expressway was built as part of an ongoing, multi-billion dollar overhaul of Kennedy Airport that began in the late 1980s. It was designed to relieve up to 30 percent of the traffic volume from the Van Wyck Expressway.[111] Approximately 6 major rental car companies serve JFK Airport, with rental locations located on and off the airport. Each terminal's arrivals level (usually near the baggage carousel) has either a rental car counter or courtesy telephone for each of the car rental companies.


US Helicopter operated regularly scheduled flights every hour between Terminal 3 and the East 34th Street Heliport. Passengers traveling by helicopter to the airport passed through a security checkpoint at the heliport, not at JFK. On May 14, 2007, US Helicopter moved its operations from Terminal 9 to Terminal 3.[112] US Helicopter announced that it was temporarily suspending operations on September 25, 2009 due to financial difficulties.[113]

New York Airways provided helicopter service from JFK to other area airports and heliports from 1955 to 1979, and Pan American World Airways continued Manhattan helicopter service during the 1980s in order to feed its JFK flights. During the 1970s, New York Helicopter offered JFK flights from the top of the then-Pan Am Building in midtown Manhattan, but this service was cancelled after a major accident in 1977.[114]

Accidents and incidents

Main article: Accidents and incidents at John F. Kennedy International Airport

In popular culture

As one of the major international gateways in the United States, JFK Airport has a high profile in popular culture.

Motion pictures

Many motion pictures have used JFK Airport as a location for action. For example, a demolition explosion there was used for a plane explosion in the movies Final Destination (2000) and Final Destination 5 (2011). Some scenes from Catch Me If You Can were shot at the TWA Flight Center of the airport.[115] The airport is the setting of The Terminal.[116]


  • Many of the scenes in the first two chapters of the novel Fear of Flying by Erica Jong took place at the Kennedy Airport. The main character of the novel, Isodora Wing, is quite afraid that her flight will crash into Jamaica Bay immediately after takeoff.
  • Kennedy Airport is the main location for the thriller novel 58 Minutes by Walter Wager. In the novel, terrorists cut the power to the runway lights and hijack the airports landing equipment during a heavy snowstorm, making it impossible for the planes to land until the terrorists' demands are met. The novel would later become the basis for the action film, Die Hard 2.


  • The 2008 video game, Grand Theft Auto IV, the TWA terminal's exterior was used in the game as a fictional Francis International Airport.



  • The British Invasion began with the arrival of The Beatles at JFK in 1964, who held their first American press conference at the airport.

Songs and albums

Stage productions

  • In his one-man show, Red diaper baby, Josh Kornbluth's eccentric communist father insists on referring to JFK Airport as the "Bay of Pigs Memorial Airport".



  • Dunford, Martin. The Rough Guide to New York City. Penguin Books, January 2, 2009. ISBN 1848360398, 9781848360396.
  • Successful Meetings, Volume 51. Bill Communications, 2002.
  • World Hotel Directory 1998, Pitman Publishing, September 30, 1997 ISBN 0273627635, 9780273627630.


External links

New York City portal
Aviation portal
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (official site)
  • Terminal4 JFK International Airport (official site)
  • New York State DOT Airport Diagram PDF
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport Taxi Services
  • PDF), effective May 29, 2014
  • FAA Terminal Procedures for JFK, effective May 29, 2014
  • Resources for this airport:
    • AirNav airport information for KJFK
    • ASN accident history for JFK
    • FlightAware live flight tracker
    • NOAA/NWS latest weather observations
    • SkyVector aeronautical chart for KJFK
    • FAA current JFK delay information
    • OpenNav airspace and charts for KJFK

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