JFK International Airport will be redeveloped to a modern 21st century airport by 2025. Credit: New York State.
The $13bn redevelopment project will include the addition of two new world-class terminals. Credit: New York State.
Redevelopment works at JFK International Airport will start in 2020. Credit: New York State.
The redevelopment project will also include the improvement of road access to JFK airport. Credit: New York State.

John F Kennedy or JFK International Airport, the busiest airport in New York, is set to undergo a major redevelopment to meet future air traffic growth.

A $13bn vision plan was announced in October 2018 to modernise the airport into a 21st century airport with the addition of two new international terminals. The plan also includes improvement of road network to the airport and expansion of rail mass transit.

Construction on the project will begin in 2020, with the first new gates scheduled to open in 2023. The new terminals will increase the airport’s annual passenger capacity by 15 million upon completion of the redevelopment project in 2025.

Operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the airport handled 60 million passengers and 446,459 aircraft movements in 2017. Passenger traffic is forecasted to reach 75 million a year by 2030 and 100 million a year by 2050.

JFK international airport redevelopment details

The JFK International Airport redevelopment project will mainly include the construction of two new passenger terminals on the airport’s southern and northern sides. The terminals will feature world-class amenities such as duty-free shopping, fine dining, modern conference and meeting rooms, best-in-class retail outlets, and Taste NY stores.

Terminals will feature larger waiting areas with high ceilings, natural lighting and modern architecture depicting iconic New York landmarks. They will also be equipped with charging stations and free high-speed Wi-Fi for passengers.

The redevelopment project will also include the installation of radiation detection and next-generation technology for the identification of unattended packages to enhance security at the airport.

Taxiways will be expanded and new flight slots will be added to reduce flight delays and enhance safety.

Existing parking lots will be reconfigured to provide more short and long-term parking options. Two new JFK Welcome Centers situated at the centre of the airport will feature taxis, buses, hire vehicles, as well as parking options.

JFK International Airport south-side terminal details

The proposed new terminal on the airport’s south side is estimated to cost $7bn. With a floor area of 2.9 million square feet, it will replace the ageing terminals 1 and 2 and the vacant area where terminal 3 was demolished in 2014.

The new terminal will have 24 security screening lanes, 230,000ft² of food, beverage and retail space, 116,000ft² of airline lounges, and 55,000ft² of green space, cultural exhibitions and children’s play areas.

“Improvements to the roadway network around the airport will also be carried out to provide quick and easy access to all terminals.”

It will feature up to 23 international gates, which include 22 gates with the ability to accommodate wide-body aircraft such as Airbus A380 or Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It will be connected to the newly expanded Terminal 4 when commissioned.

North-side terminal details

Covering an area of 1.2 million square feet, the north-side terminal will be developed at an estimated cost of $3bn. It will feature 74,000ft² of retail space, 30,000ft² of airline lounges, and 15,000ft² of recreational spaces.

The new terminal will replace the ageing undersized Terminal 7 and the vacant space from Terminal 6, which was demolished in 2011. It will provide 12 international gates that will be capable of accommodating wide-body aircraft.

It will be connected to the newly opened Terminal 5 when completed.

Modernisation of the transport network around the airport

Improvements to the roadway network around the airport will also be carried out to provide quick and easy access to all terminals.

The AirTrain JFK people mover system will be upgraded to cater to the increased passenger capacity. Two ring roads known as north and south loops are planned to be built to provide access to the future south and north side terminals.

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is building a new 12-car platform at Jamaica Station with an aim to increase the capacity for the passengers traveling to and from the airport.

Transportation improvements will also include the addition of a fourth lane in both directions of the 4.3-mile section of the Van Wyck Expressway between the Kew Gardens Interchange and the airport to reduce travel time.

Construction of the fourth lane is expected to begin at the end of 2019, with commissioning scheduled for 2024.

Contractors involved with JFK International Airport redevelopment

Mott MacDonald and Grimshaw were appointed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to provide concept design for the redevelopment project in October 2017.

JetBlue will build the planned north side terminal, while the construction of the south side terminal will be performed by Terminal One Group, a consortium of Air France, Lufthansa, Korean Air Lines, and Japan Airlines.

Munich Airport International will operate the south side terminal.