The John F. Kennedy International Airport is a major international airport of the United States, located in Queens, a district of New York City, some 20 kilometres south-east of Lower Manhattan. It is the busiest international air passenger gateway in the United States, handling some 53 million passengers in 2014. Over seventy airlines operate out of the airport, and it is one of the only four airports in North America with scheduled direct flights to all six inhabited continents.
Opened as the New York International Airport in 1948, it was commonly known as the Idlewild Airport before being renamed to its current name in 1963 in memory of President John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, following his assassination. The airport is owned by the City of New York, and is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The John F. Kennedy International Airport has six operational terminals containing 128 gates, numbered 1-8 but skipping Terminals 6 and 8 which were demolished in 2011 and 2013, respectively. The terminal buildings, with the exception of the former Tower Air terminal, are arranged in a deformed U-shaped wavy pattern around a central area – the heart – which contains the parking, a power plant, and several other airport facilities. The terminals are connected by the AirTrain system and other airport facilities. Until the early 1990s, each terminal was known by the primary airline that served it except for Terminal 4, which was known as the International Arrivals Building. In the early 1990s as well, all of the terminals were given numbers except for the Tower Air terminal, which sat outside the Central Terminals area and was not numbers. Like in the other airports controlled by the local port authorities, terminals are sometimes managed and maintained by independent terminal operators. At JFK, all terminals are currently managed by airlines or consortiums of the airlines serving them, sans Terminal 4, which is operated by the Schiphol group. All terminals except Terminal 2 can handle international arrivals that are not pre-cleared.
Terminal 1 – opened in 1998, Terminal 1 is operated by the Terminal One Group, which is a consortium of four key operators: Air France, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, and Lufthansa. This partnership was founded after the airlines reached agreement that the then existing international carrier facilities were inadequate for their needs. They refurbished it and used it – along with other European and some Asian carriers. Terminal 1, along with Terminal 4, is one of two airport terminals in the JFK that has the capability to handle the superjumbo Airbus A380 aircraft, which are flown by Air France, Lufthansa, and Korean Air.
Terminal 2 – opened in 1962, Terminal 2 was exclusively used and operated by Delta Air Lines. It was previously home to Northeast Airlines, braniff, and Northwest Airlines during its opening. Terminal 2 has been designated as the C gates by Delta, and has seven Jetway-equipped gates and 17 stands for Delta Connection carriers.
Terminal 4 – developed by LCOR and managed by the JFK International Air Terminal LLC, Terminal 4 serves as a major international hub for Delta Airlines and was the first one in the United States to be managed by a foreign airport operator (Schiphol). It also serves as the main terminal for mostly Asian airlines, and some African and European Airlines. Terminal 4 is also known as the major gateway for international arrivals at the JFK.
Terminal 5 – originally opened in 2008, Terminal 5 is operated by JetBlue Airways, the manager and then only tenant of the building. This particular terminal exclusively handles North American regional flights, (except for Aer Lingus flights to Ireland) American domestic flights, Caribbean flights, and Hawaiian Airlines flights to Honolulu in Hawaii.
Terminal 7 – Built for BOAC and Air Canada in 1970, today's Terminal 7 in the JFK is operated by British Airways. It is also the only airport terminal operated by a foreign carrier on US soil (only one operator, unlike Terminal 1's consortium of four airlines). Oneworld alliance airlines carriers operate out of the terminal, including carriers British Airways and Iberia, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas. Other airlines operating here include Star Alliance's ANA, Air Canada, and United Airlines, as well as Aerolineas Argentinas, Iceland Air, and Ukraine International Airlines. The fate of Terminal 7 though, is currently under evaluation – with leases with the Port Authorities ending in 2015.
Terminal 8 – a major Oneworld Hub, Terminal 8 was originally built and planned by American Airlines to be the biggest air terminal in the JFK complex. And indeed it is – doubling the size of Madison Square Garden. It is a state-of-the-art facility that is home to American Airlines, Air Berlin, Finnair, LAN Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian Airlines, TAM Airlines, and US Airways.
Services and Facilities
The JFK spans over 21 square kilometres. It has four runways and several operational facilities, along with numerous services. Each terminal of the JFK is complete with passenger and commercial services, including, but not limited to, ticketing and check-in counters, food and retail outlets, self-service kiosks, security check-points, lounges, and many others.