The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Board of Commissioners today approved the agreement on key terms with Delta Air Lines and JFK International Air Terminal (JFKIAT), the operator of Terminal 4, to expand Terminal 4 and consolidate Delta operations there, a key step in the transformation of John F. Kennedy International Airport into a 21st-century global gateway.
The now $1.5-billion project, which is being financed by private capital, was initially authorized by the Board in February 2020 as a $3.8-billion expansion and modernization. The revised plan, prompted by the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel, prioritizes components including new gates critical to Delta’s consolidation of its operations at JFK into Terminal 4 and other elements throughout the terminal designed to improve the passenger experience. Further enhancements including additional new gates and seating areas will be deferred to future phases.
Based on today’s Port Authority Board approval as well as approval by Delta Air Lines’ Board of Directors and the Directors of Schiphol USA, the Port Authority will finalize and enter into a lease amendment with JFKIAT for an expansion and renovation of the Terminal 4 arrivals and departures hall and a concourse expansion to add 10 new gates (eight for regional jets and for two narrow-body aircraft). The expansion and renovation at Terminal 4, which is expected to be financed by JFKIAT, will break ground later this year, enabling Delta to consolidate its operations in late 2022, with full project completion in late 2023.
“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,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “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 of Terminal 4 as part of the transformation of JFK Airport is a milestone that’s prudent and important,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “The significant but prudent investment of $1.5 billion in private capital in this project is a vote of confidence in the future of JFK Airport, the future of the New York/New Jersey region, and the future of air travel as it continues to recover from the pandemic. And it is remarkable in that it represents an important step forward in Governor Cuomo’s vision to modernize JFK as a unified world-class airport and the largest international gateway to the country.”
“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 thank the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Board 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. The new gates, check-in, and arrival areas at Terminal 4 will modernize JFK airport and increase the potential for minority-owned partnerships, which will be key to an equitable economic revitalization after the pandemic. I also want to thank members of the JFK Airport Redevelopment Advisory Council, including my co-chair Queens Borough President Donovan Richards for advocating for community inclusion and consideration of the neighborhoods directly impacted by the redevelopment efforts,” said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks.
“The Port Authority Board’s approval of the revised agreement on the expansion of Terminal 4 is a major step forward. 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,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Jr. “The revival of the travel and tourism sectors will be key to the post-pandemic recovery of the Queens economy, and the work to 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.”
“Delta continues to invest more in airport infrastructure today than at any other time in our history, and we’ve been working hard even throughout the pandemic to pull the future forward on transformational projects that will deliver truly superior experiences for our customers,” said Stephanie Baldwin, Delta’s Vice President of JFK Airport Operations. “We’re looking forward to working with our partners at JFKIAT and the Port Authority to build on our strong history of investment at JFK Terminal 4 that will cement its status as a world-class global gateway. Alongside the work that’s already underway at LaGuardia Airport, Delta continues to serve as a steadfast, strategic member of the New York community, creating the airports our New York customers have long deserved.”
“We are proud that the expansion of Terminal 4 will move forward, marking the next evolution of one of the world’s most modern and efficient air terminals,” said Roel Huinink, President and CEO of JFKIAT. “In the wake of the pandemic, traffic at T4 – which accounts for one-third of JFK’s traffic – has been significantly impacted, and we have continued to prioritize the safety of all customers and employees in order to restore confidence in air travel once more. As we move forward with this important expansion, we will continue to partner with Delta and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to carry forward our safety practices, invest in technology, drive innovation, and bring our best-in-class customer experience to the next level.”
Expanding Terminal 4 in a Practical Fashion with Customer Needs in Mind
The Terminal 4 project will modernize and expand the existing terminal, adding more than 150,000 square feet and 10 new gates, serving primarily regional and domestic flights. 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.
The expansion will replace the 11 gates currently used by Delta at Terminal 2, which was built in 1962, and allow for the demolition of that 58-year-old terminal. The consolidation will also allow for more seamless connections on many of Delta’s partner airlines. The project will include expanded seating areas and concessions, modern wayfinding, and new or upgraded restrooms designed with travelers in mind. The expansion project also includes a new Delta lounge in Terminal 4’s Concourse A.
Delta has grown its presence in New York City by over 65 percent in the last 10 years and in 2019 operated more than 240 peak daily departures from JFK to nearly 100 destinations in more than 30 countries around the world. The airline first expanded its New York presence at JFK with a major commitment to Terminal 4 in 2013. At LaGuardia Airport, wherein 2019 Delta operated hundreds of daily departures, it began construction on the $3.9 billion replacement of Terminals C and D in August 2017. Delta’s first new concourse and new gates on the eastern side of the airport opened in October 2019. A state-of-the-art arrivals and departures hall for the new terminal will open in 2022 as part of “A Whole New LGA.”
JFKIAT, a U.S. affiliate of Royal Schiphol Group, has been the operator of Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport since 1997. The expansion will further enhance the terminal’s offerings for its almost 30 airline partners with technologies to ensure expedited and seamless passenger processing capabilities, additional food options, and other amenities to ensure passenger comfort and convenience.
Redeveloping JFK Airport in Lockstep with the Local Community
In 2018, Governor Cuomo created the JFK Redevelopment Community Advisory Council to advance community-focused programs throughout the airport’s redevelopment specifically related to advancing the Port Authority’s commitment to a 30 percent Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) contracting goal, a special focus on opportunities for local, Queens-based businesses, as well as a variety of community development initiatives including job opportunities and workforce development programs for local residents, small business outreach and development, educational programming for Queens residents, and environmental stewardship.
The Advisory Council is co-chaired by Representative Gregory Meeks and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and is composed of elected officials, community boards, business and nonprofit organizations, civic organizations, and clergy leaders from the targeted communities of Southeast Queens, Southwest Queens, the Rockaways, and Western portions of Nassau County. Since its inception, the Council has been working with the Port Authority to expand community outreach efforts, ensuring that this ambitious project solicits ongoing feedback from local stakeholders and provides meaningful opportunities for local businesses, MWBEs, and jobseekers.
This includes a commitment to the governor’s nation-leading goal of 30 percent utilization of MWBEs, which applies to all aspects of the redevelopment including the expansion and renovation of Terminal 4 by Delta and JFKIAT, which will be built by union labor under a full project-labor agreement.