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Construction to Take Flight in 2023 On New $4.2B Terminal 6 at JFK Airport

Tue November 22, 2022 - Northeast Edition #26
Office of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul & amNY

A rendering of the new Terminal 6 at JFK Airport, where construction is set to start next year.
(Rendering courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)
A rendering of the new Terminal 6 at JFK Airport, where construction is set to start next year. (Rendering courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

A brand new, $4.2 billion terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, N.Y., will begin construction early next year, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Nov. 17.

The state's chief executive, fresh off a narrow election victory for her first full term in office, said that a financing and lease deal had closed and environmental approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been secured for the new 10-gate, 1.2-million-sq.-ft. Terminal 6, expected to handle its first passengers in 2026 ahead of final completion in 2028.

This project is the final piece of the JFK Vision plan to get under way, and it will complete the transformation of the airport into a 21st century global gateway, she said.

"JFK International — the nation's door to the world — will soon be worthy of New Yorkers, providing an unparalleled passenger experience," Hochul said in a statement. "[JFK Vision's] historic $18 billion investment will not only transform JFK into a world-class airport, but also create 4,000 jobs in the process, and I thank everyone who put in the years of hard work to move this project forward."

The latest terminal will be a new air hub for Lufthansa and JetBlue at JFK, with Terminal 6 set to connect with JetBlue's Terminal 5. While waiting on their flights, passengers will be able to enjoy 100,000 sq. ft. of new shopping and dining options, and to view works by local artists.

Financing, Approvals Completed

JFK International's latest terminal will be built in two phases, according to amNY, a free New York City daily.

The facility's financing and approvals are all set for the first phase, to start construction in 2023 atop the site of the old Terminal 6 — now an underutilized lot used for plane storage — on the northern side of the airport, said Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates JFK International.

Phase Two of the new terminal will replace the existing Terminal 7, set to be demolished. Its main tenant, British Airways, is slated to move into the newly revamped Terminal 8.

Financing for the massive construction effort will mostly come from private funders, amNY noted. The Port Authority will commit $130 million in capital funds for "enabling infrastructure," while the rest will come from money raised by JFK Millennium Partners, a consortium of investors including Vantage

Airport Group (which oversaw development and operations at LaGuardia Airport's new Terminal B), the private equity firm American Triple I, RXR, a real estate developer, and JetBlue.

"At this point, the financing of this deal is fully in hand, the private partners are fully committed, and the Port Authority is fully committed," Cotton said at the body's monthly board meeting on Nov. 17. "This represents the full funding, the full commitment, and the ability to execute on what was the full original vision for the transformation of John F. Kennedy Airport."

He added that Terminal 6 is the "final piece" of the agency's transformation of JFK International. Construction broke ground on a $9.5 billion Terminal 1 in September. A $1.5 billion expansion of Delta's Terminal 4 also is under construction, while British Airways is set to begin flight operations at Terminal 8 later this year after that $400 million modernization is complete.

Three Metro Airports Seeing Major Upgrades

The work at JFK is just one part of the Port Authority's massive campaign to transform New York's once-maligned airports into glitzy gateways to the "City That Never Sleeps," according to amNY.

Ribbons were cut on two new, $4 billion terminals at LaGuardia earlier this year, bringing world-class pizzazz to an airport once famously compared by President Biden to a "third-world country." In the coming weeks, the Port Authority also will open the newly reconstructed, $2.7 billion Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, replacing the reviled existing terminal of the same name.

JFK International's Terminal 6 project was significantly derailed and delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cotton noted. With the financial uncertainty brought by COVID, the original deal fell apart and the planned April 2020 groundbreaking never happened.

Finally, as the disease began to fade, the newly reconfigured airport terminal partnership was approved in August 2021, while the final deal was signed in November 2022.

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