History of JFK International AirportIn April 1942, New York City began placing hydraulic fill over the marshy tidelands of Idlewild Golf Course. Initial plans were for a modest 1,000-acre airport, but by the time construction was complete Idlewild Airport had grown to five times that size. Commercial flights began in July 1948. On December 24, 1963, the airport was rededicated John F. Kennedy International Airport in memory of the nation’s 35th president. Today, JFK is the nation’s leading international gateway, with more than 80 airlines operating from its gates.
Facts and Information
OPERATED BY: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, under a lease with the City of New York since June 1, 1947. In 2004, the Port Authority and the City of New York concluded an agreement that ensures the Agency's continued operation of JFK and LaGuardia airports through 2050.
LOCATION: On Jamaica Bay in the southeastern section of Queens County, New York City. The airport is located 15 miles by highway from midtown Manhattan.
SIZE: JFK covers 4,930 acres, including 880 acres in the Central Terminal Area. The airport has more than 30 miles of roadway.
INVESTMENT: About $150 million was expended on original construction. The Port Authority has invested about $6.1 billion in the airport.
EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC IMPACT: JFK contributes about $31 billion in economic activity to the New York/New Jersey region, generating approximately 233,000 and about $11.3 billion in wages and salaries. Roughly 35,000 people are employed at the airport.
TERMINALS: JFK has seven operating airline terminals, surrounded by a dual ring of peripheral taxiways. More than 125 aircraft gates serve the terminals. The Central Terminal Area also includes a central heating and air-conditioning plant.
AIRTRAIN JFK: Opened in 2003, the light-rail service AirTrain connects JFK with the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and New York City subway and bus lines. At the airport, AirTrain provides fast, free connections between terminals, rental car facilities, hotel shuttle areas, and parking lots. In 2010, 5.3 million passengers used AirTrain JFK. Recent improvements include digital signage; expanded closed-circuit televisions; track, switch, and third-rail heaters to improve reliability in cold weather; and a digital audio recording system for monitoring critical communications in real time.
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWER: The 321-foot tower, which opened in 1994, includes state-of-the-art communications, radar and wind-shear alert systems.
PARKING: The airport offers customers over 18,000 parking spaces in a variety of places, including: multi-level parking garages, surface spaces in the Central Terminal Area, a long-term parking and cell phone lot.
CARGO: JFK is one of the world's leading international air cargo centers. Two cargo facilities totaling 430,000 square feet of warehouse and office space offer the latest in cargo-facility design. The airport has more than one million square feet of office and warehouse space dedicated to broker, freight forwarder and container freight station operators who do business within the NY/NJ region.
RUNWAYS/TAXIWAYS: Total runway length is nine miles. Taxiways total 25 miles in length. All runways have high-intensity runway edge lighting, centerline and taxiway exit lighting and are grooved to improve skid resistance and minimize hydroplaning. A 500-foot by 150-foot aircraft arrestor bed has been installed at the end of Runway 4R, the first such arrestor bed in the world. In addition, the Bay Runway reconstruction project expanded 13R-31L from 150 to 200 feet wide in 2011.