Cuomo unveils plans to upgrade JFK International Airport for years to come

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo’s office

With plans to upgrade LaGuardia Airport already off the ground, there’s now a proposal to fly John F. Kennedy International Airport into the 21st century.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, with recommendations from the Governor’s Airport Advisory Panel, introduced a vision plan that has a comprehensive, airport-wide framework to create a unified, world-class airport.

In order to accommodate the dramatic expected growth at the airport in the coming decades and keep New York’s economy moving forward, the vision addresses three key areas: transforming JFK into a unified, interconnected, world-class airport; improving road access to the airport; and expanding rail mass transit to meet projected passenger growth.

“New York never backs down from a challenge, rather we step up to take on the ambitious projects that are often thought to be impossible. That’s exactly what transforming JFK International Airport is all about,” Cuomo said. “Our vision plan calls for the creation of a unified, interconnected airport that changes the passenger experience and makes the airport much easier to access and navigate.”

JFK Airport welcomes more international passengers to the United States than any other airport in the country, and it’s expected to become even busier in the decades to come – with a projected 75 million passengers served by 2030 and 100 million passengers by 2050.

In order to accommodate the potential increase in passengers, the plan calls for a more efficient use of land within the airport’s central terminal area, such as interconnecting and expanding new terminals and redeveloping and relocating old ones.

Plans for the physical design of the airport also include redesigning airport roadways with a “ring road” configuration, allowing easier access to JFK’s terminals for passengers, taxis, ride-sharing and for-hire vehicles, as well as expanded taxiways to reduce ground delays.

The vision plan also looks to address the road access to JFK Airport, a traffic nightmare for any traveler. Cuomo is directing the New York State Department of Transportation to undertake $1.5-$2 billion in improvements. In particular, major improvements will be made at the Kew Gardens Interchange between the Grand Central Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway, the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike.

Two options for improving rail mass-transit were also introduced in this vision plan. The first option is to expand the JFK AirTrain from two cars to four cars, with an increased frequency. They would also completely overhaul the subway and Long Island Rail Road connection to the JFK AirTrain. The second option would explore the feasibility of a one-seat ride to JFK, a feature that JFK currently does not offer.

The Panel’s vision plan indicates how the transformation can drive up to $7 billion in private investment.

“This investment in JFK and our infrastructure will help international travelers and Queens residents alike,” said Councilman Rory I. Lancman. “Governor Cuomo’s commitment to improving our roadways and mass transit will give the city solid footing in being a must-see city for generations for come.”

Click here for a complete look at Governor Cuomo’s vision plan for JFK International Airport.