JFK Airport to build US$9.5bn international terminal

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A 222,300m2  state-of-the-art international terminal is to be built in phases on the sites of JFK Airport’s current T1 and T2 and the former T3, with a privately financed budget of US$9.5bn.

The new Terminal 1 will have 23 gates and a larger check-in hall, security and concessions areas with high ceilings, natural light and modern architecture coupled with interior green space, exhibits and art featuring New York landmarks and local artists. Retail, restaurants and bars will include locally inspired restaurateurs, craft beverage options and Taste NY stores. Free, high-speed wi-fi and a collection of charging stations throughout the terminal will enable passengers to stay connected throughout their journeys. As part of the project, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will also undertake several infrastructure upgrades and improvements including roads, parking and utilities including a new electrical substation.

The terminal will include a touchless passenger journey, digital passenger flow and queue management, advanced video search analytics, biometric-based systems and a flexible design to accommodate future technology and/or regulatory changes. These installations are designed to improve the security in the new terminal. Sustainability improvements will include the use of renewable-energy technologies such as solar hot water, aircraft de-icing and fluid recovery as well as the conversion of diesel ground service equipment – such as baggage tractors and belt loaders – to electric across the airport.

The new Terminal 1 will be built on the sites of the current, smaller and outdated Terminal 1, the 59-year-old Terminal 2 and the former Terminal 3, which was demolished in 2013. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2022 and the first phase, including the new arrivals and departures hall and first set of new gates, is expected to open in 2026. The project was initially scheduled to break ground in 2020. However, due to the severe impact of Covid-19 on air travel, the terms of the agreement needed to be restructured. The new terminal will be built in phases, subject to international passenger traffic levels, with full completion anticipated around 2030.

Plans for the new Terminal 1 build on the momentum of the other three components of the project. The US$3.9bn development of new Terminal 6 was approved by the Port Authority Board of Commissioners in August. This terminal will be built by JFK Millennium Partners on the airport’s north side and will connect with JetBlue’s existing Terminal 5. The US$1.5bn expansion of Terminal 4, led by Delta and JFK International Air Terminal, was approved in the spring and will begin construction soon. Furthermore, work began in December 2019 on the US$425m expansion of JFK’s Terminal 8, led by American Airlines, which operates the terminal, and British Airways, which will be relocating there from Terminal 7, which is set to be demolished to make way for the new Terminal 6.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has reached a revised agreement with New Terminal One (NTO) – a consortium of financial sponsors – to build the new terminal. NTO is a private consortium comprised of Carlyle, JLC Infrastructure (formed in 2015 by Loop Capital and Magic Johnson Enterprises) and Ullico (the only labor-owned insurance and investment company). It is supported by Reach Airports, a joint venture between Munich Airport International and Carlyle’s airport platform, CAG Holdings, providing technical services. NTO selected a design-build team, led by AECOM Tishman and Gensler, a design and architecture firm.

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners will vote on the proposed lease agreement at its meeting on December 16, 2021. Also in December, the Port Authority Board will vote on the authorization of the full US$2.9bn of funds that were included in the Port Authority’s 2017-2026 Capital Plan for the JFK Redevelopment program. These funds are allocated to enabling infrastructure in direct support of JFK redevelopment, including roadway improvements, utilities, improved parking facilities, a ground transportation center and airfield work. (To date, approximately US$1.24bn of those funds have been authorized through separate board actions.) Thus, the Port Authority capital is leveraging private investment at a rate of more than 5:1 when taking into account the full private investment of more than US$15bn that has been committed to the four projects comprising the full JFK redevelopment program.

JFK Airport currently supports roughly 300,000 jobs that pay US$16.2bn in wages annually while generating US$45.7bn in yearly sales. The development of the new Terminal 1 is expected to result in over 10,000 total jobs including more than 6,000 union construction jobs.

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul said, “As we recover from this pandemic, I want to ensure that everyone traveling to New York has a welcoming and streamlined experience, and that New Yorkers have the modernized transportation hubs they deserve. The time to get large infrastructure projects done is now, and I’m committed to getting JFK’s brand-new Terminal 1 underway and completed as soon as possible.”

Rick Cotton, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said, “The Port Authority is committed to rebuilding and transforming our airports into the world-class facilities the region deserves. The new Terminal 1 project at JFK will deliver on that commitment. Today’s announcement loudly proclaims the confidence the private sector has in the future of JFK Airport and our region. At the height of the pandemic, when JFK Airport was seeing an unthinkable 2% of its pre-Covid passenger volumes, we never lost sight of finding a path forward for this world-class terminal that aspires to be one of the best on the globe. We thank Governor Hochul for her strong support of big projects. And we thank our dedicated team and partners for the extraordinary effort to turn JFK Airport into a best-in-class global gateway that New York and the region deserve.”

Kevin O’Toole, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said, “This agreement to build a new Terminal 1 at John F. Kennedy International Airport demonstrates the commitment of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and our private partners to deliver for our region through some of the most difficult times in our agency’s 100-year history. Moving forward with this state-of-the-art international gateway, and the extraordinary level of private investment it brings, will create thousands of good-paying construction jobs critical to our recovery from the pandemic while building the foundation of economic growth for decades to come.”

Dr Gerrard P Bushell, executive chair of The New Terminal One, said, ”With the support of Governor Hochul and the Port Authority, we will deliver a world-class terminal, drive New York state’s nation-leading MWBE participation to new heights and help spur regional economic growth. We will also deliver on our multi-year commitment to community development in Southeast Queens, and an increase in the number of local jobs, educational programs and small business capacity building.”

Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, said, “The plan for a new Terminal 1 at JFK International Airport will transform the facility into a world-class transportation hub, while driving historic private investment into New York City and its working people with the creation of tens of thousands of middle-class careers during construction. We applaud Governor Hochul for her leadership in advancing this monumental project and look forward to getting to work to build a best-in-class, world-renowned facility.”

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