New York’s regional airports are soaring into the 21st century

JFK Term 6
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Any unpleasant experiences travelers may endure at New York’s airports will soon be a thing of the past. 

With large scale projects underway or completed at all three major airports, John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and Newark International Airport (EWR) — a more than $30 billion investment — passengers traveling to and from New York can expect a new kind of travel experience that reflects the current century. 

JFK is one of the nation’s busiest airports, with over 15 million passengers boarding flights therein 2021. Over the past few years plans to renovate four of JFK’s terminals were announced, including improvements to Terminal 4 and Terminal 8, as well as the construction of a new Terminal 6 and New Terminal One (NTO). 

As of today, two of these plans have been completed, with Terminal 8 reopening after renovations in December of 2022 and Terminal 4 unveiling its expansion to the public this January. 

The new Terminal 6 and NTO projects are already underway. On Feb. 23, Governor Kathy Hochul and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey celebrated the groundbreaking of the new Terminal 6

The Terminal 6 project is the last piece of the JFK plan to break ground and will result in a 1.2 million square foot, state-of-the-art terminal with 10 new gates. The new Terminal 6 is a public-private partnership between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and JFK Millennium Partners — a consortium that includes Vantage Airport Group, American Triple I, RXR, and JetBlue Airways. 

Upon completion, passengers traveling through Terminal 6 can expect a streamlined journey through the terminal with enhanced digital systems for check-in, advanced security that includes automated TSA security lanes, and easily accessible taxi plaza and pick-up areas. 

The New Terminal One, the largest planned renovation at JFK, is set to open to the public in 2026. NTO will be a 2.4 million square foot, state-of-the-art international terminal with 25 gates and over 300,000 square feet dedicated to retail and dining concessions. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in the original NTO plans, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New Terminal One consortium restructured their agreement and set their sights on the future. NTO is privately financed by a consortium of labor, operating and financial partners, including Ferrovial, Carlyle, JLC Ulico, and is being constructed by a design build team lead by AECOM Tishman and Gensler. 

JFK is not the only one of the region’s airports that’s undergone a recent facelift. 

In January of this year, Newark Liberty International Airports opened the doors to the new Terminal A. Terminal A features approximately 1 million square feet of space and offers 33 gates to handle larger aircraft, as well as a modernized check-in, security and baggage claim areas. 

The next step in Newark Liberty’s redevelopment is the building of a brand-new AirTrain Newark system, another step toward modernization. 

LaGuardia Airport has also recently entered the 21st century. Over the past few years travelers through LaGuardia have experienced the new and improved Terminal B and Terminal C

Last month, the airport — once ranked as the worst airport in North America in a 2017 JD Power study and once critiqued by then-Vice President Joe Biden as resembling that of “a third-world country — had their Terminal B named the world’s best new terminal based on customer feedback. 

This impressive shift in opinion is all thanks to the upgrades to the terminals including brand new gates, cutting edge technology and easily accessible transportation. 

Our latest special section, Power Players in Aviation, seeks to highlight the individuals involved in making all of these improvements possible. Without the dedication of these members of New York’s aviation industry and government offices, New York’s airports would still be stuck in the past. 

Thanks to them, all travelers to and from New York will soon be able to experience New York’s airports as they were intended – world-class global gateways.