Congested and ageing New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport has long been viewed as a gateway unworthy of a great city, but a multi-billion-dollar plan unveiled by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo aims to transform JFK “into an airport equipped to meet the demands of the 21st century.”

The recommendations of the Governor’s Airport Advisory Panel announced on January 4, 2017 includes foundational improvements to airport terminals, roadways, and mass-transit access, including:

  • Expanding newer terminals and redeveloping or relocating older terminals to create an interconnected terminal system
  • Spending up to $2 billion to improve airport access from local motorways, and redesigning on-airport roadways to create a more accessible and efficient “ring road”
  • Centralizing and expanding airport car parks, with clearly defined short-term and long-term parking options
  • Adding fine dining, duty-free shopping, retail, and conference facilities, spearheaded by the groundbreaking in December 2016 of the TWA Flight Centre Hotel, which is being constructed on the bones of JFK’s iconic, Space Age era TWA terminal building
  • Expanding airport taxiways to reduce ground delays, and adding new flight slots to accommodate growing passenger and flight traffic
  • Exploring options for improving mass-transit access to the airport, such as increasing service on the existing AirTrain that connects to the New York subway and the Long Island Rail Road in Jamaica
  • Implementing state-of-the-art security technology

“Our vision plan calls for the creation of a unified, interconnected airport that changes the passenger experience and makes the airport much easier to access and navigate,” says Cuomo.

“We are New York, and we remember the bravado that built this state in the first place, and that is the attitude that will take JFK and turn it into the 21st century airport that we deserve.”

A record 60 million passengers passed through JFK in 2016, and passenger traffic is projected to exceed airport capacity by the mid-2020s, reaching 75 million by 2030 and 100 million passengers by 2050, officials say.

As currently configured, the airport gets poor marks from travellers, ranking 59th among the world’s top 100 airports.