JetBlue will remain based in New York, says JFK Terminal 6 is back on track

Aug 3, 2021

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The expansion and renovation of New York’s JFK Airport is back on track, after a pandemic delay.

JetBlue and the office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday that shelved plans for a new Terminal 6 would now move forward, with 10 new gates opening by 2025.

The new terminal would connect to JetBlue’s existing Terminal 5 and calls for the demolition of the aging Terminal 7, now home to British Airways, Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, ANA and others.

JetBlue, which bills itself as “New York’s hometown airline,” also said it would keep its headquarters in New York City. The airline reportedly had been mulling a move to Florida, but now says it intends to stay following “an in-depth review and competitive bid process.” Still, JetBlue said it would seek to redesign its office space to account for “rapidly evolving workplace trends.”

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This rendering shows what a new Terminal 6 at New York-JFK would look like. (Image courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

Aside from its headquarters, JetBlue has long been entrenched in New York. The company operates its busiest hub at New York-JFK, where the addition of the $3.9 billion Terminal 6 will allow the carrier to further expand its footprint. In addition to allowing for up to 10 new gates, JetBlue said the new facility would feature “bright and airy check-in halls and arrival spaces designed to enhance the customer experience.”

The Terminal 6 plans call for more than 100,000 square feet of “commercial dining and retail amenities, lounges, and recreational spaces,” with that ambiguous reference to “lounges” appearing to leave open the possibility for a frequent flyer club.

JetBlue currently has no such offering, but adding a lounge – whether operated by JetBlue itself or a partner – would provide a new perk for customers flying in the airline’s posh Mint business-class seats. Additionally, with JetBlue set to launch London service later this month, lounge access could become a bigger priority for the airline as it courts customers on trans-Atlantic routes.

First look: What it was like to fly JetBlue’s new Mint business class

The new Terminal 6 will connect to and be integrated with the existing T5, including the eventual consolidation of international arrivals facilities.

This image from a June 2020 presentation shows the plan proposed for a new Terminal 6 at New York JFK. (Image courtesy of JFK Millennium Partners)

Further, the gates planned for the new T6 will be able to accommodate both wide- and narrow-body jets. JetBlue flies only narrow-body planes, that could create room for partner airlines — such as American — to fly wide-body jets on international routes from the new terminal.

The project will also create new taxi and rideshare areas convenient to both terminals. “These changes will not only create a world-class experience for the new Terminal 6 passengers but will also substantially reduce traffic congestion on the T5 road frontage,” the New York governor’s office said in a statement detailing the plans.

New partners: American, JetBlue detail new routes, enhanced connectivity in next phase of Northeast Alliance

JetBlue touted the effort as one that “keeps its flag firmly planted in New York City.”

“We set out to support the governor’s vision to modernize JFK into a world-class airport,” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said in a statement. “Terminal 5 has been a huge success, and we are so pleased to have an opportunity to expand our presence with new gates in a new terminal. The team putting this project together is setting out to develop a terminal that New Yorkers can be proud of.”

This rendering shows what designers have planned for the concession area at the new Terminal 6 at New York JFK. (Courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

Additional reporting by Scott Mayerowitz, TPG.

Featured image courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

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