NY’s JFK Airport Seeks Proposals for $10B Renovation (Video)

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is launching a Request for Proposals for preliminary engineering and design for the $10 billion redevelopment of John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

The RFP is a significant step forward in implementing the Governor’s vision plan for JFK, outlined in the 2017 State of the State agenda.

“JFK International Airport is an international gateway to New York and a powerful economic engine with the potential to grow even stronger,” Governor Cuomo said.

“By enhancing capacity, improving access and creating a unified framework for one of the nation’s largest international airports, the new JFK Airport will be a center of economic activity and a world-class airport of the caliber that New York deserves.”

(Learn More, courtesy of NYS Executive Chamber and YouTube)

The RFP is complemented by $1.5 billion in new State commitments for improvements to the Van Wyck Expressway and Kew Gardens Interchange that will improve access to the airport and reduce congestion.

Phases I and II of the project at the Kew Gardens Interchange in central Queens are complete.

These two critical steps will facilitate the transformation of JFK Airport into a unified, world-class airport to meet the demands of the 21st century and accommodate the dramatic growth expected in traveler demand.

The chosen firm will follow the blueprint laid out in the Governor’s Vision Plan to reimagine the airport’s terminals, roadways, AirTrain, parking, cargo facilities, airside and aeronautical improvements, and support infrastructure.

Consistent with Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading goal of 30 percent participation of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises, construction of the new JFK Airport will provide extensive economic opportunities for MWBE contractors in the Borough of Queens and throughout the New York Metropolitan Region.

Increasing the utilization of MWBE firms in state contracting is key to the success of the MWBE program.  In 2014, Governor Cuomo set the nation’s highest goal for MWBE procurement at 30 percent.

(Courtesy of the Governor’s Press Office)
(Courtesy of the Governor’s Press Office)

21st Century JFK Vision Plan

Based on the recommendations of the Governor’s Airport Advisory Panel, Governor Cuomo announced a vision plan laying out a comprehensive, airport-wide framework to create a unified, world-class airport.

In order to accommodate the dramatic expected growth at the airport in the coming decades and keep New York’s economy moving forward, the Governor’s plan will transform JFK into a unified, interconnected, world-class airport, improve road access to the airport and expand rail mass transit to meet projected passenger growth, while providing world class customer service.

The plan will also address state-of-the-art security technology within terminals, and advance efforts to overall enhance airport security.

A core feature of the Panel’s recommendations is that each project move forward within the framework of a terminal configuration that’s more unified and makes it easier for passengers to connect between terminals.

(Courtesy of the Governor’s Press Office)
(Courtesy of the Governor’s Press Office)

Interconnected Terminals:

  • Expanding newer terminals and redeveloping and relocating older ones.
  • As the new terminals expand they should be designed to connect to neighboring terminals as much as possible.
  • As older terminals are rebuilt and redeveloped, the planning should take into account the vision of a unified airport.


Fixing JFK’s On-Airport Roads and Parking:

  • The vision plan details the need to untangle the confusing spaghetti-network of on-airport roads that lead to multiple bottlenecks and chokepoints.
  • The plan underlines the need to transform this web of roadways with multiple chokepoints and bottlenecks into a “ring road” approach allowing for easier and quicker access to all terminals including for taxis, ride sharing, and for-hire vehicles.
  • Additionally new centralized parking lots within the “ring road” will allow for clear, airport-wide short term and long term parking options.

The Airport Advisory Panel unveiled their recommendations in a full report, which is available here .

(Courtesy of the Governor’s Press Office)
(Courtesy of the Governor’s Press Office)

Investing $1.5 Billion for the Van Wyck Expressway and Kew Gardens Interchange

One of the key recommendations of the Governor’s Advisory Panel Report was the need to improve roadway congestion and access to the airport.

Today’s travel times to JFK are unpredictable and range anywhere from 35 minutes to two hours.

One of the most significant problems in accessing JFK is the bottleneck at the Kew Gardens Interchange between the Grand Central Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway, the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike.

The State has committed $1.5 billion to add a lane to the Van Wyck Expressway and to reconfigure the Grand Central/Van Wyck interchange, saving motorists a combined travel time of 7.4 million hours annually going to and from JFK.

Phase I included widening a portion of the Van Wyck Expressway, and rehabilitating the exit ramp from the northbound Van Wyck to westbound Queens Boulevard, four bridges over the Van Wyck, the Van Wyck Bridge over Main Street and the Queens Boulevard Bridge over Main Street.

Additionally, Phase I included constructing auxiliary lanes on both the northbound and southbound Van Wyck between the Grand Central Parkway and Main Street and provided a dedicated exit lane southbound to Hillside Avenue.

Phase II project widened the northbound Van Wyck Expressway to three lanes and replaced the one-lane entrance ramp connecting the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike with the northbound Van Wyck Expressway with a new two-lane ramp.

Expanding Mass-Transit Capacity to Meet Projected Growth

The Governor’s vision plan calls for consideration of two ways to improve rail mass transit to JFK in response to the dramatic growth of the number of passengers at JFK.

Step 1: Expand JFK AirTrain

Increase the capacity from two to four cars per train and increase its frequency.

These changes would allow the AirTrain to roughly double its capacity and handle more than 40 million passengers annually.

Improve the east of connection from the Subway or LIRR by top-to-bottom rebuild of interconnections at Jamaica and Sutphin Blvd – Completely overhaul the subway and Long Island Railroad connection to the JFK AirTrain.

These improvements would include essential modern amenities such as high-performance elevators and escalators, charging stations and expanded walkways.

A modernized mezzanine will create simpler navigation and smoother transfers to the AirTrain including improved wayfinding and LED flight status screens.

Step 2: Explore the feasibility of one seat ride to JFK 

JFK is one of the only major airports in the world that does not offer travelers a one seat ride from its city center.

Therefore, the panel recommends that the MTA and its partners jointly explore the feasibility of a one-seat ride to JFK.

(Courtesy of the Governor’s Press Office)
(Courtesy of the Governor’s Press Office)

TWA Flight Center Hotel at JFK

The TWA Flight Center hotel is on track for an early 2019 completion, with excavation, concrete slab work, and reinforcing steel installation all underway following the groundbreaking in December 2016.

The TWA Flight Center will create a 500 room on-airport hotel at JFK, through adaptive reuse of the historic Saarinen TWA terminal, and provide a world class facility for the nation’s premier international gateway.

JFK Airport is a vital regional economic engine that served a record 59 million passengers in 2016 and supported more than 285,000 jobs last year. JFK passenger volumes have continued to grow, with 23.1 million passengers through May, up 1.4 percent versus the comparable prior year period, and keeping JFK on track to serve approximately 60.5 million passengers in 2017.

The number of passengers at JFK is expected to grow dramatically over the next several decades – to 75 million by 2030 and 100 million passengers by 2050. The current JFK will reach capacity by the mid-2020s. For each million passengers that JFK fails to accommodate, the region loses approximately $140 million in wages, $400 million in sales, and 2,500 jobs.