Despite growing demand, the $10B overhaul of JFK Airport does not include a new runway

Posted On Mon, September 24, 2018 By

Posted On Mon, September 24, 2018 By In Policy, Queens, Transportation

Rendering via Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last year plans to overhaul John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) with state-of-the-art modern terminals, world-class amenities, and centralized expanded parking lots. But the $10 billion plan, with more details coming from Cuomo in the next few weeks, does not include building a new runway, despite the airport serving a record number of visitors last year, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. In 2017, the airport served 59 million passengers compared to 48 million passengers in 2008, a 23 percent increase, according to Port Authority data.

John F. Kennedy International Airport, JFK airport, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Tishman Construction Company
Rendering via Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office

“Right now, a new runway is not on the table,” Rick Cotton, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, told the WSJ. The Port Authority oversees JFK, as well as LaGuardia Airport and Newark-Liberty International. Cotton said the airport’s four runways can handle passengers through 2035 when a projected 80 million passengers are expected.

“We need to transform JFK into an airport that can actually meet 21st-century demands before we start considering new runways,” Cotton told the newspaper.


Rendering via Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office

Constructing a new runway, which requires billions of dollars, typically faces public backlash as it creates significant noise and air pollution. And for JFK, a new runway would have to be built over the Jamaica Bay, an 18,000-acre wetland estuary.

In a study released in June, the Regional Plan Association recommended building two new runways at JFK, where passenger growth “has led to growth in jobs at and around the airport, contributing to the economic revival of Jamaica,” according to the group. So far, the Port Authority has no plans to increase capacity.

Cuomo’s JFK revamp includes redeveloping older terminals and linking them better for passengers making connections. It would also improve road access to the airport by getting rid of bottlenecks in road access to and from JFK on the Van Wyck and at the Kew Gardens Interchange. New amenities would include fine dining, duty-free shopping, and added retail.


Image courtesy of MCR and Morse Development; Photo: Max Touhey

The airport’s TWA Hotel, an ambitious project to transform the historic TWA flight center into a 512-room hotel, is on track to open in the spring of 2019. Construction began in December 2016, the towers topped out this March, and the 1960’s-inspired interiors were unveiled the following month. And project’s developer, MCR, announced it will unveil an “additional-one-of-a-kind event space” this fall.

[Via WSJ]

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