JFK Airport redevelopment project to move forward with reduced budget

The JFK Airport redevelopment project is approved at a reduced budget due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis that followed. (Courtesy of the governor’s office)

The JFK Airport redevelopment project has been put on a diet.

The Port Authority board of commissioners announced that due to the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel, the project to expand Terminal 4 — which was originally authorized as a $3.8 billion proposal — has been reduced to $1.5 billion, a 60 percent reduction in its agreement with Delta Airlines and JFK International Air Terminal (JFKIAT), the operator of Terminal 4.

The revised plan prioritizes components including new gates critical to Delta’s consolidation of its operations into Terminal 4 and other elements throughout the terminal designed to improve passenger experience. Further enhancements, including additional new gates and seating areas, will be deferred to future phases.

“The transformation of JFK Airport as part of the Port Authority’s commitment to delivering 21st-century infrastructure across the region can and must play a critical role in driving job creation and economic recovery from the devastating toll taken by the pandemic,” Port Authority Chairman Kein O’Toole said. “Delta and JFKIAT have been true partners in this endeavor, finding a way forward despite the many challenges, and we applaud this investment in the future of air travel as we look forward to welcoming more passengers back to our airports.”

The expansion and renovation of Terminal 4 will break ground later this year with a full project completion expected in late 2023.

“The Port Authority Board’s approval of the revised agreement on the expansion of Terminal 4 is a major step forward,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “In the ongoing transformation of JFK Airport into a state-of-the-art gateway, this expansion will be well-positioned to attract passengers who are poised to travel in greater numbers once COVID-19 subsides. The revival of the travel and tourism sectors will be key to the post-pandemic recovery of the Queens economy, and the work will be completed under this agreement will help enhance that recovery and lead our borough, city and the entire metropolitan region to a more prosperous future.”

The Terminal 4 project will modernize and expand the existing terminal, adding more than 150,000 square feet. The project will also expand and renovate the arrivals and departures hall to improve the ticketing areas, security checkpoints, baggage claim and arrivals areas. Delta currently operates out of both Terminal 4 and Terminal 2, and this expansion will allow Delta to offer connecting customers a seamless travel experience at JFK by consolidating all of Delta’s JFK operations into Terminal 4.

“JFK Airport is New York’s largest airport that caters to millions of travelers globally and it is time we bring it to the 21st century. I want to thank the Port Authority for approving the revised Terminal 4 project and Executive Director of the Port Authority, Rick Cotton, for fulfilling Governor Cuomo’s commitment to equally distribute 30 percent of contracts to Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises,” Congressman Gregory Meeks said. “The new gates, check-in and arrivals areas at Terminal 4 will modernize JFK Airport and increase potential for minority-owned partnerships, which will be key to an equitable economic revitalization after the pandemic.”

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