Press Release Article


Date: Aug 04, 2004
Press Release Number: 95-2004

Board of Commissioners Also Authorizes
Restoration and Rehabilitation of JFK’s Historic TWA Terminal

John F. Kennedy International Airport’s storied past will meet the promise of an auspicious future after the Port Authority Board of Commissioners today took actions that will bring yet another state-of-the-art passenger terminal to New York City’s international gateway while preserving an important airport icon – the TWA Flight Center designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen.

A 640,000-square-foot passenger terminal housing 26 gates will be built by the Port Authority and JetBlue on a 70-acre tract in JFK’s central terminal area at a cost of $875 million. The investment also includes a new parking garage with more than 1,500 spaces, a new connecting bridge to the nearby AirTrain JFK station, and work needed to incorporate the connecting tubes of the TWA Flight Center, also known as Terminal 5, into the new terminal.

JetBlue Airways will operate the terminal under a lease of up to 34 years. Construction is expected to begin in 2005.

The agency also approved entering into an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration, the New York State Historic Preservation Office and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for the rehabilitation, restoration and adaptive reuse of Terminal 5, behind which the new passenger terminal will be built. The agreement ensures that Terminal 5, which was dedicated in 1962, will remain an airport centerpiece even though no airlines at JFK wish to operate it as a passenger terminal because of its physical and aeronautical limitations.

“We’re proud to support this new project, which will bring a new state-of-the-art terminal to JFK and preserve Eero Saarinen’s historic building so that generations to come can marvel at this architectural masterpiece,” Governor Pataki said. “JetBlue Airways’ decision to enter into a long-term lease agreement is outstanding news. By making these critical new investments, we will ensure that JFK Airport provides New Yorkers and visitors from around the nation and world the best facilities, and that JFK continues to remain the world’s premier international gateway.”

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “Kennedy Airport’s renaissance has delivered a host of improvements that include rail access via AirTrain JFK, new and redeveloped terminals, a more efficient roadway system, new parking garages and upgraded utilities. These improvements, together with unprecedented security initiatives that we have undertaken at this airport and at all of our transportation facilities, underscore our commitment to the traveling public.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “As the gateway for more than 33 million passengers and nearly two million of tons of cargo annually, JFK has secured its place among the world’s most important airports. As an economic engine for New York City, its influence also is widely felt: The airport is home to more than 35,000 jobs and it drives more than $30 billion in annual economic activity that generates an additional 265,000 jobs. And the redevelopment program that includes this new terminal has created an additional 11,400 jobs, generating $520 million in annual wages and $1.78 billion in annual sales activity.”

Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “We’re excited to usher in a new era at JFK with this project, which will preserve and protect the stunning TWA Flight Center that is such a fundamental part of the airport’s past while we also employ good business sense to meet our future needs. And we’re pleased to be joined in our endeavor by JetBlue Airways, whose tremendous growth has helped support the overall success of the entire airport community.”

JetBlue Airways Chairman and CEO David Neeleman said, “The world has just one icon that truly epitomizes both New York City and the excitement of aviation and that’s JFK’s Terminal 5. This is an exciting day for JetBlue’s more than 7,000 crewmembers as we marry our industry’s rich history with our own aspirations for the future. New York City has always been our home. With today’s vote, we eagerly await the day when Terminal 5 will become JetBlue’s home too.”

The new terminal will be designed and built while Terminal 5 is restored and put to a new use. A recent example of the adaptive reuse process can be found at Newark Liberty International Airport, where historic Building One – the nation’s first air passenger terminal that was operational from 1935 to 1953 – was restored and reopened in 2002. Today, it houses the airport’s professional and police staff, aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment, and airport operations equipment, as well as a display of historic photos, artifacts and memorabilia.

Although no adaptive reuse has been determined for Terminal 5, more than 40 firms expressed interest to the Port Authority in 2002 in restoring and redeveloping the terminal for a new use while preserving its visionary architecture. The building, which has been closed since it was decommissioned in December 2001, will temporarily reopen to the public in October for an art exhibit titled “Terminal Five,” featuring artists from around the world.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit rail system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.

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