John F. Kennedy International Airport

Operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, JFK International Airport operates as a major international gateway hub for American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, and Eastern Airlines. It has six operating airline terminals, four runways, and 128 aircraft gates for the terminals.

Airport history

Originally called Idlewild Airport, but then in late 1941, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia announced that the city had tentatively chosen a portion of marshland on Jamaica Bay to build a new airfield, with construction starting in 1943. In 1944, the New York City Board of Estimate authorized the condemnation of another 1,350 acres for Idlewild, and then in 1947, the Port Authority of New York leased the Idlewild property from New York City, a lease that is still active today. In March 1948, the city council changed the official name to New York International Airport, Anderson Field, but the common name remained "Idlewild" until late December of 1963. July 1, 1948 saw the first flight occur from Idlewild, which at the time only had a single 79,280-square-foot terminal building. In the next few years that followed, that terminal building more than doubled in size, and a new control tower was constructed, as well as expanded taxiways and buildings. By 1954, Idlewild had the highest volume of international air traffic of any airport in the world, with many airlines starting to fly out of the airport. It was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport soon after the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. It had more airline takeoffs and landings than LaGuardia and Newark combined from 1962 to 1967 and was the second-busiest airport in the country, peaking at 403,981 airline operations in 1967. Construction on the AirTrain JFK people-mover system began in 1998, after decades of planning for a direct rail link to the airport, and didn't open until December 2003. The airport's new Terminal 1 opened on May 28, 1998 and Terminal 4, the $1.4 billion replacement for the International Arrivals Building, opened in May of 2001. In early 2017, the office of then New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to renovate most of the airport's existing infrastructure. The Airport Master Plan Advisory Panel recommended several changes, including enlarging the newer terminals, relocating older terminals, reconfiguring highway ramps and increasing the number of lanes on the Van Wyck Expressway, and lengthening AirTrain JFK transits or connecting the line to the New York City transportation system. In October 2018, Governor Cuomo announced a $13 billion plan to rebuild passenger facilities and approaches to JFK Airport. Two all-new international terminals were built and the total number of gates was increased from 131 to 152. Then, on January 7, 2020, construction began on expanding and improving Terminal 8, with plans for 16 new domestic gates to open by 2023.

Airport location

JFK is located in Jamaica, Queens, 16 miles southeast of Midtown Manhattan.

Airport facts

● JFK International Airport is the sixth-busiest airport in America and the 20th busiest in the world. 

● Over 90 airlines operate direct flights from JFK to all six inhabited continents.

● Opening in 1948 as New York International Airport, it was commonly known as Idlewild Airport. The airport was renamed in 1963 to John F. Kennedy International Airport as a tribute to the 35th President of the United States. 

● During World War II, the airport was shut down for commercial use and was instead operated by the Army Air Corps for logistics operations.

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