John F. Kennedy International Airport

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John F. Kennedy International Airport
JFKNewYorkTerm4 1.jpg
JFK airport's terminal 4 built in 2001
WMO: 74486
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of New York[1]
OperatorPort Authority of New York and New Jersey[1]
ServesNew York City
LocationJamaica, Queens, New York, United States
Hub for
Elevation AMSL13 ft / 4 m
Coordinates40°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 March 8, 2012.
JFK is located in New York City
Location within New York City
Statistics (2011)
Aircraft operations (ACI)[2]408,913
Passengers (ACI)[2]47,683,529
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[3]
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John F. Kennedy International Airport
JFKNewYorkTerm4 1.jpg
JFK airport's terminal 4 built in 2001
WMO: 74486
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of New York[1]
OperatorPort Authority of New York and New Jersey[1]
ServesNew York City
LocationJamaica, Queens, New York, United States
Hub for
Elevation AMSL13 ft / 4 m
Coordinates40°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 March 8, 2012.
JFK is located in New York City
Location within New York City
Statistics (2011)
Aircraft operations (ACI)[2]408,913
Passengers (ACI)[2]47,683,529
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[3]
Map showing New York City and the locations of JFK (1), LaGuardia (2) and Newark (3) airports

John F. Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFKICAO: KJFKFAA LID: JFK) is an international airport located in the borough of Queens in New York City owned by the City of New York and leased to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, about 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Lower Manhattan. In 2011 it was the busiest international air passenger gateway to the United States, handling more international traffic than any other airport in North America.[4] It is also the leading freight gateway to the country by value of shipments.[5] In 2011, the airport handled 47,809,910 passengers,[2] making it the 17th busiest airport in the world and sixth busiest in the United States in terms of passenger traffic. The New York City metropolitan area's JFK International, LaGuardia, and Newark International airports, all operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, combine to create the largest airport system in the United States, second in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and first in the world in terms of total flight operations. In the last few years it has made extensive improvements to terminals, roadways and inter-terminal transportation.[6]

The airport was originally known as Idlewild Airport until 1963, when it was renamed after John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.[7]

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,[8] 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.[9]




John F. Kennedy International Airport was originally known as Idlewild Airport (IATA: IDLICAO: KIDLFAA LID: IDL) after the Idlewild Golf Course that it displaced. The airport was envisioned as a reliever for LaGuardia Airport, which had insufficient capacity in the late 1930s. Construction began in 1943 by local firms such as the Edenwald Group headed by the late Charles Follini Sr., a decorated former FDNY fireman; 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.[10]

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 again changed the name to New York International Airport, Anderson Field, but the airport was commonly known as "Idlewild" until 1963.[11]

The Port Authority leased the airport property from the City of New York in 1947 and maintains this lease as of the late 2000s.[1] The first commercial flight at the airport was on July 1, 1948; the opening ceremony was attended by President Harry Truman.[10] 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.[12]

The airport opened with six runways and a seventh under construction;[13] runways 1L and 7L were held in reserve and never came into use as runways. Runway 31R (originally 8,000 ft/2,438 m) is still in use; runway 31L (originally 9,500 ft/2,896 m) opened soon after the rest of the airport and is still in use; runway 1R closed in the 1950s 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.

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.[14]


The Port of New York Authority originally envisioned a single 55-gate terminal for the airport, but the major airlines of the time did not agree with this plan, arguing that the terminal would be far too small for future traffic.[15] 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.[16] This scheme made construction more practical, made terminals more navigable and introduced incentives for airlines to compete with each other for the best design.[15] The revised master 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.)[11]

JFK was designed for aircraft up to 300,000-pound (140,000 kg) gross weight[23] and had to be modified in the late 1960s to accommodate Boeing 747s.[24]

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.[25][26][27]

JFK went through a $10.3 billion redevelopment. The airport began construction of the AirTrain JFK rapid transit system 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.[28][29] 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.[30]

On March 19, 2007, JFK became the first airport in the United States to receive the Airbus A380 with passengers aboard. The route, proving capacity for more than 500 passengers was operated jointly 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, operated by Emirates on its New York – Dubai route using Terminal 4.[31] This service was suspended in 2009, due to poor passenger demand;[32] they however re-introduced the aircraft in November 2010. Other airlines that operate the A380 to JFK include Singapore Airlines on the New York - Singapore route, Air France on the New York - Paris-Charles de Gaulle route and Lufthansa on the New York - Frankfurt route. It is anticipated that British Airways will launch their A380 services on the New York - London-Heathrow route.

Previous terminals

Eastern Air Lines terminal

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

Terminal 6 (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. On June 1, 2006, JetBlue Airways began service from Terminal 6, opening a temporary complex that increased its capacity by adding seven gates. After JetBlue vacated the terminal, these were demolished.[33] The original building has been demolished to allow for greater expansion at the airport.[34]

The former Terminal 6 site will be part of an extension of Terminal 5 dedicated to JetBlue international service, 5I.[35]

Old Terminal 8 and 9

The original Terminal 8 opened in 1960 and was notable for having a stained-glass facade, the largest in existence at the time, and was used by American Airlines for the duration of its existence. During its later years, it was used by other oneworld airlines that did not utilize Terminal 7. Terminal 9 opened in 1959 and was used by United Airlines[11] 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 (now Terminal 3), it was later used by Tower Air until the airline's collapse in 2000. Building 213 has not been 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.[36]

13R–31L14,572 feet (4,442 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.[37] 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.[38] ].
4R–22L8,400 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–22R11,351 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–31R10,000 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.[39] 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.[40]

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.[citation needed]


A map of JFK's terminals

JFK has seven terminals (ten until the late 1990s and nine until early 2000s) 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). The number of terminals will decrease to six following the expansion of Terminal 4 (currently in progress), at which point Terminal 3 will be demolished (slated for completion by 2015).

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, hotels, 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.[41] 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.[42]

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 operated by independent terminal operators. At JFK, all terminals are currently operated by airlines or consortiums of the airlines serving them, with the exception of the Schiphol Group-operated Terminal 4.

Terminal 1

Terminal 1

The original Terminal 1, built for Eastern Airlines, was demolished circa 1995.[43]

The current 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.[44] This partnership was founded after the four airlines reached agreement that existing international carrier facilities were inadequate for their needs.[45][46][47] It was designed by William Nicholas Bodouva + Associates.[48] Terminal 1 has the capability to handle Airbus A380 aircraft from 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; it is one of two terminals (along with Terminal 4) having the capacity to carry the superjumbo aircraft. Terminal 1 has 11 gates.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 was opened in 1962 as the home of Northeast Airlines, Braniff and Northwest Airlines, and is currently 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 Air Lines. It has 7 Jetway-equipped gates (20–22, 26–29) and 17 stands for Delta Connection carriers (23A–H, 23J, 25K–N, 25P–S). Delta is currently in the progress of connecting T2 with T4. It is also currently moving its international operations into T4 and demolishing T3. The project was approved by the Port Authority on August 5, 2010.[49]

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 was built as the Worldport in 1960 for Pan American, and substantially expanded for the introduction of the 747 in 1970. Delta Air Lines currently operates the terminal and is its only occupant, and has a connector to Terminal 2, Delta's other terminal at JFK. Terminal 3 has 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 is under construction, which Terminal 4 is being expanded, while Delta is moving its current T3 operations. Terminal 3 will be demolished after Terminal 4's expansion is complete in 2013 to provide additional aircraft parking stands to speed up ground handling, and construct a connector between T2 and T4 for Delta transfers. T3 would be entirely demolished in 2015, including the 'flying saucer' roof.[50][51][52][53]

Terminal 4

Terminal 4 replaced the former International Arrivals Building in May 2001

Terminal 4, the international terminal, is able to handle the Airbus A380 and was developed by LCOR, Inc and is managed by the Schiphol Group. It was the first airport terminal 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,[54] the new 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 17 gates in two concourses: A2–A7, B20, B22–B31. The number of gates is currently being expanded to allow all of Delta Air Lines international flights to be operated from Terminal 4. A photo was released which shows additional expansion of T4 to include "regional jet" gates, although this phase has not yet been officially confirmed.[55][56] As of 2012, the work on the Delta hub has commenced, with funding primarily from $900 million in special-project bonds.[57]

Concourse A has six gates, numbered A2–A7. Concourse B has eleven gates, numbered B20–B31, 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. Terminal 4’s expansive shopping mall offers a wide range of retail options before security so passengers and their families can enjoy shopping and dining together. Four chapels are located on the fourth floor (departure level). Delta Air Lines has also moved its operations to T4, as it expands operations beyond T2.

The terminal is currently being expanded, including nine new international gates, additional baggage space, customs and border-security facilities,[58] and serves many international airlines daily, including Aer Lingus, Brazilian leading carrier TAM Airlines, and several from the east, such as EgyptAir, Emirates, and Etihad Airways.

Terminal 5

Newly expanded Terminal 5

Terminal 5 is operated by JetBlue Airways, its main occupant, and opened in 2008. The terminal 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; at the Noyes House dormitory at Vassar College, the lounge is affectionately called The Jetsons lounge because of its curved architecture. 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.[59] Aer Lingus will also move to the terminal from Terminal 4 beginning in the first quarter of 2013.[60] 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.[35]

Terminal 7

Terminal 7 was designed by GMW Architects[61] and built for BOAC and Air Canada in 1970. It is currently operated by British Airways. This terminal is the only terminal owned and operated by a foreign carrier on US soil. 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, US Airways and ANA also use the terminal. Between 1989 and 1991, the terminal was renovated and expanded at a cost of $120 million.[62] The expansion was designed by William Nicholas Bodouva + Associates, Architects.[48] In 1997, the Port Authority entered an agreement with British Airways to renovate and expand the terminal. The $251 million project was designed by Corgan Associates[63] and was completed in 2003.[64] The renovated terminal has 12 gates.[65]

Terminals 6 and 7

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. Management has indicated a desire to relocate British Airways/Iberia's operations to a new pier located east and connected to Terminal 8, pending approval of an alliance with American Airlines.[66]

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.[67] It is a major Oneworld hub, and American Airlines is the major Oneworld carrier at Terminal 8. American operates Terminal 8, is the largest carrier in 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, and LAN Airlines (and its affiliates)[68] operate out of Terminal 8. Qatar Airways also operates its 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.[69] 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).[70] 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

All flights to Cuba are operated as special-authority charters. International arrivals can be handled at any terminal except Terminals 2 and 5.

Aer LingusDublin
Seasonal: Shannon
AeroméxicoMexico City
Seasonal: Cancún
Aerosvit AirlinesKiev-Boryspil4
Air BerlinBerlin-Brandenburg [begins October 25, 2013], Berlin-Tegel [ends October 26, 2013], Düsseldorf8
Air Canada Express operated by Jazz AirToronto-Pearson7
Air ChinaBeijing-Capital1
Air EuropaSeasonal: Madrid4
Air FranceParis-Charles de Gaulle1
Air IndiaDelhi4
AlitaliaMilan-Malpensa, Rome-Fiumicino1
All Nippon AirwaysTokyo-Narita7
American AirlinesAntigua, Austin, Barbados, Barcelona, Bermuda, Boston, Brussels [ends November 6, 2012][71], Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, Cancún, Caracas, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Madrid, Manchester (UK), Miami, Milan-Malpensa, Orlando, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Port-au-Prince, Rio de Janeiro-Galeão, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Seattle/Tacoma, Tampa, Tokyo-Haneda, Zürich
Charter: Havana
Seasonal:Eagle/Vail, Rome-Fiumicino, San José (Costa Rica)
American EagleBaltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus (OH), Indianapolis, Montréal-Trudeau, Nashville, Norfolk, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, Toronto-Pearson, Washington-National8
Arik AirLagos4
Asiana AirlinesSeoul-Incheon4
Austrian AirlinesVienna1
AviancaBogotá, Medellín-Córdova4
British AirwaysLondon-City, London-Heathrow7
Brussels AirlinesBrussels1
Caribbean AirlinesGeorgetown, Grenada, Kingston, Montego Bay, Port of Spain, Tobago4
Cathay PacificHong Kong, Vancouver7
Cayman AirwaysGrand Cayman1
China AirlinesOsaka-Kansai, Taipei-Taoyuan4
China Eastern AirlinesShanghai-Pudong1
Copa AirlinesPanama City4
Delta Air LinesAccra, Amsterdam, Antigua, Aruba, Atlanta, Austin, Barcelona, Bogotá, Boston, Brussels, Dakar, Denver, Detroit, Dublin, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers [begins December 15, 2012], Frankfurt, Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Grenada, Las Vegas, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Miami, Milan-Malpensa, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Montego Bay, Monrovia, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Orlando, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Phoenix, Port-au-Prince, Portland (OR), Punta Cana, St. Thomas, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo-Las Américas, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Seattle/Tacoma, St. Maarten [begins December 15, 2012], Tampa, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion, Tokyo-Narita, Vancouver [begins June 6, 2013], Venice-Marco Polo, Washington-National
Seasonal: Athens, Copenhagen, Istanbul-Atatürk, Málaga, Nice, Pisa, Reykjavík-Keflavík, Prague, Rome-Fiumicino, Shannon, Stockholm-Arlanda, Valencia, Zurich
2, 3, 4
Delta Connection operated by Chautauqua AirlinesBuffalo, Charleston (SC), Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus (OH), Dayton, Greensboro, Louisville, Norfolk, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Rochester (NY), Syracuse, Washington-Dulles2
Delta Connection operated by GoJet AirlinesHartford/Springfield, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis2
Delta Connection operated by Pinnacle AirlinesBaltimore, Buffalo, Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Cleveland, Columbus (OH), Dallas/Fort Worth, Elmira/Corning [ends November 1, 2012][72], Halifax, Hartford, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Montréal-Trudeau, Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Quebec City [begins May 1, 2013], Richmond, Rochester (NY), Syracuse, Toronto-Pearson, Washington-Dulles, Washington-National
Seasonal: Martha's Vineyard
El AlTel Aviv-Ben Gurion4
Etihad AirwaysAbu Dhabi4
EVA AirTaipei-Taoyuan1
EZjet operated by Swift AirGeorgetown1
Hawaiian AirlinesHonolulu5
InterjetMexico City1
Japan AirlinesTokyo-Narita1
JetBlue AirwaysAguadilla, Aruba, Austin, Barbados, Bermuda, Boston, Buffalo, Burbank, Burlington (VT), Cancún, Cartagena [begins November 2, 2012],[73] Charleston (SC) [begins February 28, 2013],[74] Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Grand Cayman [begins November 15, 2012],[75] Houston-Hobby, Jacksonville, Kingston, La Romana, Las Vegas, Liberia, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Montego Bay, Nassau, New Orleans, Oakland, Orlando, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Ponce, Portland (ME), Portland (OR), Providenciales, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Raleigh/Durham, Rochester (NY), Sacramento, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Salt Lake City, Samaná [begins November 14, 2012],[76] San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), San Juan, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo-Las Américas, Sarasota, Seattle/Tacoma, Syracuse, Tampa, Washington-Dulles, West Palm Beach
Seasonal: Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket
4, 5
Korean AirSeoul-Incheon1
Kuwait AirwaysKuwait, London-Heathrow4
LAN AirlinesLima, Santiago de Chile8
LAN EcuadorGuayaquil8
LAN PerúLima [begins November 3, 2012]8
LOT Polish AirlinesWarsaw-Chopin1
LufthansaFrankfurt, Munich1
Meridiana FlySeasonal: Naples, Palermo1
Pakistan International AirlinesKarachi, Lahore, Manchester (UK)4
Qatar AirwaysDoha8
Royal Air MarocCasablanca1
Royal JordanianAmman-Queen Alia8
SaudiaJeddah, Riyadh1
Singapore AirlinesFrankfurt, Singapore4
Sky King, Inc.Charter: Havana7
South African AirwaysJohannesburg4
Sun Country AirlinesMinneapolis/St. Paul4
Swiss International Air LinesGeneva, Zürich4
TACA AirlinesSan Salvador, San Pedro Sula4
TACA Airlines operated by LacsaSan José (Costa Rica)4
TAM AirlinesRio de Janeiro-Galeão, São Paulo-Guarulhos4
Transaero AirlinesMoscow-Domodedovo4
Turkish AirlinesIstanbul-Atatürk1
United AirlinesLos Angeles, San Francisco7
United Express operated by ExpressJetWashington-Dulles7
US AirwaysCharlotte, Phoenix7
Uzbekistan AirwaysRiga, Tashkent4
Virgin AmericaLas Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco
Seasonal: Palm Springs [begins December 22, 2012][77]
Virgin Atlantic AirwaysLondon-Heathrow4
XL Airways FranceSeasonal: Marseille [begins May 31, 2013], Paris-Charles de Gaulle4
Cities outside the US and Canada served by direct flights from JFK

Other facilities

North American Airlines has its headquarters in Building 141 along Federal Circle, on the airport property.[78] North American Airlines is one of the building's tenants; the building also has Servisair and VOA as tenants and Port Authority storage, and serves as a storage lot for airport buses.[79] Building 141 was originally a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) administration building.[80] In the 1990s it served as the PANYNJ police headquarters.[81] 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.[80] In 2003 Building 141 was dedicated in honor of Morris Sloane, a PANYNJ aviation employee.[82]

Currently Nippon Cargo Airlines has its New York City branch in Cargo Building 66.[83] Previously it was in Building 79.[84]

When Tower Air existed, its head offices were in Building 178 and later in Hangar 17 at JFK Airport.[85][86] When Metro International Airways existed, its head office was in Building 178.[87]

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.

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.[88] 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.

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.[89]

Traffic and statistics

In 2011, JFK handled 47,683,529.[90]

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.[91]

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

Top Carriers (2011)[92]
Total %
JetBlue Airways9,267,1092,162,12511,429,23424.0%
Delta Air Lines7,238,4814,187,58111,426,06223.9%
American Airlines4,683,9413,506,9978,190,93817.2%
British Airways1,177,4681,177,4682.5%
United Airlines982,819982,8192.1%
Virgin America962,416962,4162.0%
Air France900,374900,3741.8%
Cathay Pacific684,069684,0691.5%
Caribbean Airlines566,342566,3421.2%

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)[93]
RankAirportPassengers 2011Top Carriers
1London (Heathrow), United Kingdom2,624,827American, British Airways, Delta, Kuwait Airways, Virgin Atlantic
2Paris (Charles de Gaulle), France1,228,241Air France, American, Delta, XL Airways France
3Seoul (Incheon), South Korea906,106Asiana, Korean Air
4Madrid (Barajas), Spain688,312American Airlines, Iberia, Delta, Air Europa
5Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion), Israel661,000Delta, El Al
6Santiago, Dominican Republic654,625American, Delta, JetBlue
7Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic648,923American Airlines, Delta, Jetblue Airways
8Frankfurt, Germany638,261Delta, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines
9Tokyo (Narita), Japan615,649American, ANA, Delta, JAL
10São Paulo (Guarulhos), Brazil550,653American Airlines, Delta, TAM Airlines
Busiest Domestic Routes from JFK (May 2011 – April 2012)[94]
RankAirportPassengersTop Carriers
1Los Angeles, California1,553,000American, Delta, JetBlue, United, Virgin America
2San Francisco, California1,048,000American, Delta, JetBlue, United, Virgin America
3Orlando, Florida718,000American, Delta, JetBlue
4Miami, Florida607,000American, Delta
5Fort Lauderdale, Florida568,000American, Delta, JetBlue
6San Juan, Puerto Rico545,000American, Delta, JetBlue
7Las Vegas, Nevada537,000American, Delta, JetBlue, Virgin America
8Boston, Massachusetts419,000American, Delta, JetBlue
9Buffalo, New York349,000Delta, JetBlue
10Tampa, Florida297,000American, Delta, JetBlue

Air freight

JFK is the nation’s busiest international air freight gateway by value of shipments and the second busiest overall by value including all air, land and sea U.S. freight gateways. Over 21% of all U.S. international air freight by value and 11% by tonnage moved through JFK in 2003.[5]

The JFK air cargo complex is a Foreign Trade Zone which legally lies outside the customs area of the United States.[95] 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.[5] 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.[5]

Nearly 100 cargo air carriers operate out of JFK,[5] 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%).[96]

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.[5][97] 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.[98] 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.[99]

Scheduled cargo airlines and destinations

ABX AirCincinnati/Northern Kentucky
Air China CargoBeijing-Capital, Chicago-O'Hare, Shanghai-Pudong
Air France CargoChicago-O'Hare, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Asiana Airlines CargoBrussels, Seoul-Incheon
Atlas AirMumbai
CAL Cargo Air LinesLiège
CargoluxChicago-O'Hare, Luxembourg, Mexico City, Milan-Malpensa
Cathay Pacific CargoHong Kong, Milan-Malpensa
China Airlines CargoTaipei-Taoyuan
DHL Air UKEast Midlands, Leipzig/Halle
El Al CargoLiège, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion
EVA Air CargoBrussels, Seattle/Tacoma, Taipei-Taoyuan
Emirates SkyCargoSydney
Evergreen International AirlinesChongqing, Hahn, Hong Kong, Shanghai-Pudong
FedEx ExpressIndianapolis, Memphis
Finnair Cargo operated by Nordic Global AirlinesHelsinki, Shanghai-Pudong
Icelandair CargoReykjavík-Keflavík, Liege
Kalitta AirBrussels, Bahrain, Chicago-O'Hare, Leipzig/Halle, Liège
Korean Air CargoBrussels, Miami, Seoul-Incheon
Lufthansa CargoFrankfurt, Manchester (UK), Mexico City
Nippon Cargo AirlinesTokyo-Narita
Saudia CargoBrussels, Dammam, Riyadh
Qantas Freight operated by Atlas AirChicago-O'Hare, Chongqing, Melbourne, Sydney
Royal Air Maroc CargoCasablanca [begins 16 November 2012]
SkyLink AviationHamilton (ON)
Swiss WorldCargoZürich
TNT AirwaysLiège
Turkish Airlines CargoIstanbul-Atatürk
UPS AirlinesAthens, Baltimore, Chicago-Rockford, Louisville, Philadelphia

Ground transportation


The Howard Beach-JFK Airport subway station in Howard Beach

JFK is connected to New York's subway and commuter rail system by AirTrain JFK. AirTrain stops at all terminals, parking lots, hotel shuttle areas, car rental lots, 2 subway stations & the Long Island Rail Road. It is free within the airport. Travel time between JFK and Midtown Manhattan is about 40 minutes (depending on the originating/terminating terminal at JFK) using AirTrain and the Long Island Rail Road at Jamaica Station; or about 60–70 minutes between JFK and Downtown Manhattan using AirTrain and the New York City Subway A train at Howard Beach – JFK Airport station or the E (to Midtown Manhattan), J and Z (to Downtown Manhattan) trains at Sutphin Boulevard station.[100]

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, 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 Terminal 4 \ (connection to other terminals via AirTrain JFK), while the Q6 serves only eastern Cargo Area D, 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.


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 easily accessible by car and 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.[101] 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 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.[102] 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 departing from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport

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.[103] US Helicopter announced that it was temporarily suspending operations on September 25, 2009 due to financial difficulties.[104]

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.[105]

Accidents and incidents

JFK has been the site of several notable aviation accidents and incidents.

Other accidents and incidents involving JFK include:

In popular culture

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

The Beatles arrive at JFK Airport

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 on the movie Final Destination (2000) and Final Destination 5 (2011).


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.




Songs and albums

Stage productions



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External links

Our Lady of the Skies Chapel at JFK's Terminal 4