JetBlue Moves One Step Closer to Expansion at JFK
It's no secret that JetBlue has been eyeing expansion at its home airport of New York Kennedy (JFK). And as of Monday, the carrier has moved one step closer to a multibillion-dollar terminal expansion by selecting Vantage Airport Group and RXR Realty LLC to lead the effort.
The New York-based carrier's expansion at JFK, which is estimated to cost between $2 billion and $3 billion, will play up its partnerships, providing travelers with a more seamless airport experience when connecting between a JetBlue flight and one with a partner airline. According to JetBlue's Chief Financial Officer Steve Priest, the expansion could involve adding 12 larger gates to its operation, which would be able to accommodate the wide-body aircraft belonging to some of its partners.
Now that the carrier has selected its developers out of a possible 10 from which it was fielding bids, it moves to talks with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey about if — and when — it can proceed with the expansion.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, JetBlue's expansion plans at JFK involve not only its current home in Terminal 5, which houses 29 gates equipped to accommodate the carrier's fleet of narrow-body aircraft. But also, the carrier plans to expand to its former home at Terminal 6, which was demolished in 2011 and to which it retains exclusive rights to redevelop. Not only that, but JetBlue has expressed interest in potentially expanding to Terminal 7, which is currently occupied by British Airways. That lease is set to expire in 2022.
The carrier's 29 gates at JFK are enough to sustain its current operations — roughly 175 departures daily. It also shares the space with its partners Aer Lingus, Hawaiian and TAP Portugal.
Each of JFK's six terminals is operated by a different airline or company. The proposed JetBlue expansion comes at the same time the Port Authority is getting set to begin a $10 billion redevelopment of the airport. Currently, the Port Authority is weighing proposals from each of its operators, and this summer, it will decide which can proceed and in which order.