Big disruptions coming as New York-JFK redevelopment begins next week

Jun 28, 2022

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The new Terminal One at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) has already been years in the making, and the massive construction project is finally getting underway in the coming days.

The first phase of the redevelopment project will commence on July 8, according to a bulletin from Teresa Rizzuto, the general manager of JFK for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the governing body that manages JFK (and the other major New York City airports). A spokesperson for the Port Authority confirmed the bulletin’s accuracy.

At that time, the airport authorities will begin phasing out existing facilities, which will undoubtedly affect travelers passing through New York’s busiest airport.

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To prepare for the groundbreaking, the Green Garage at terminals 1 and 2 will close, along with the Terminal 2 AirTrain station, on July 8. On this date, AirTrain service to Terminal 2 will also be discontinued, as the new Terminal One will eventually offer in-terminal AirTrain access.

(The airport is using “Terminal One” to refer to the new terminal, while “Terminal 1” refers to the current building.)

The Green Garage exit will remain open for (at least) two additional weeks to allow travelers who parked in the garage before July 8 to access their vehicles prior to demolition.

JFK Terminal One closures
Terminal One closures at JFK. (Screenshot from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

Going forward, drivers looking to park at either Terminal 1 or Terminal 2 will be redirected to the Red Garage, which is adjacent to Terminal 8. After parking, travelers will need to take the AirTrain to Terminal 1.

Because the AirTrain station at Terminal 2 is closing, those needing to access Terminal 2 will either need to exit at Terminal 1 and walk along a covered outdoor walkway or exit at Terminal 4 and take the post-security shuttle bus to Terminal 2.

Terminal One closures at JFK. (Screenshot from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

Delta operates a handful of flights from JFK’s Terminal 2, and you’ll want to check your gate assignment before arriving at the airport to confirm whether you’ll be flying from the smaller Terminal 2 or from Delta’s main home at JFK, Terminal 4.

These passenger-facing disruptions come as airports nationwide experience a big surge in the number of travelers this summer. Many airports are running out of parking on the busiest holiday weekends. Losing an entire garage at JFK will likely lead to more frequent shortages of parking spots.

You’ll definitely want to pre-book your parking if you plan to leave your car at JFK during your upcoming travels.

For those taking public transit, be sure to factor in extra time to get around the airport, especially if you’re departing or arriving at Terminal 2.

The new Terminal One at JFK will incorporate the current and former sites of terminals 1, 2 and 3 into a massive, 2.4 million-square-foot international terminal that will anchor the south side of the airport. The project is estimated to cost $9.5 billion and will create at least 10,000 jobs, according to the Port Authority.

A rendering of the new Terminal One at JFK. (Image courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

When complete, the new terminal will be the largest at JFK — nearly the same size as LaGuardia Airport’s two new terminals combined.

Construction of the new terminal will take place in phases, with the first one kicking off next week. The first big milestone, which includes the new arrivals and departures hall and the first set of new gates, is expected to open in 2026.

When fully complete in 2030, the new Terminal One will feature 23 gates, a redesigned check-in hall and overhauled arrival spaces. (The existing terminals 1 and 2 have 12 and 11 gates, respectively.)

While new Terminal One may soon be the largest at JFK, there are three other major redevelopment projects underway at the airport.

Perhaps the most noteworthy is the $3.9 billion development of a new Terminal 6, which will become JetBlue’s new home at JFK. The project was approved by the Port Authority Board of Commissioners in August 2021 and construction is expected to begin by the end of 2022.

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

Meanwhile, Delta, along with the Port Authority, recently approved plans to move forward with the Terminal 4 redevelopment project, which is already under construction. This will include additional gates for Delta’s operation, along with $100 million in renovations for the existing check-in areas, as well as a modified arrivals-level curb to aid congestion.

A rendering of American Airlines’ expanded Terminal 8 at JFK. (Image courtesy of American Airlines)

Finally, work will shortly wrap up on the $425 million expansion of JFK’s Terminal 8, led by American Airlines, which operates the terminal, and British Airways, which will relocate to Terminal 8 from Terminal 7, set to be demolished to make way for the new Terminal 6.

When all is said and done, the new JFK will certainly be a big improvement — but you’ll need to put up with some big disruptions until then.

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

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