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Encyclopedia > Idlewild Airport
John F. Kennedy International Airport
Quick Info
Type of Airport commercial
Run by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Opened July 1, 1948
City New York, New York, United States
Latitude Longitude
40° 38' 28.5" north 73° 46' 41.9" west
Direction Length Surface
Feet Meters
4L-22R 11,351 3,459 Paved
4R-22L 8,400 2,560 Paved
13L-31R 10,000 3,048 Paved
13R-31L 14,572 4,441 Paved
Number of Passengers 29,939,212
Number of Takeoffs/Landings 287,699
Comments on this test infobox

John F. Kennedy International Airport (IATA Airport Code: JFK, ICAO Airport Code: KJFK) is the main international airport in New York City, and is one of the largest airports in the world. It is located in the borough of Queens, straddling Jamaica and Howard Beach on the coast of Jamaica Bay. It is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which also administers LaGuardia Airport and Newark Airport.

JFK is best known as the city's international hub, but flights to other airports in the United States (especially on the West Coast) also use JFK. The airport's prominence in domestic travel has increased since JetBlue Airways made JFK its headquarters in 2000: the airport is also a focus city for American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, and a base for United Airlines. In previous years, the airport has been a hub for Pan Am, TWA, Eastern Airlines, National Airlines, Tower Air, and Flying Tiger Line.



The airport is as much a famous staple of New York City as Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, the Statue of Liberty, and the Empire State Building. It was first known as Idlewild airport, as crews began to build it partly on Idlewild Golf Course. Construction of the airport began in 1942, and at that time, they thought they would need only 1,000 acres (4 km²) to build it: however, as aviation grew, so did Idlewild, and since then, 4,000 acres (16 km²) have been added.

July 1, 1948 was the date the airport saw its first commercial flight. It was dedicated as New York International Airport on July 31 of that same year, although the name "Idlewild" remained in common use and the airport's IATA code was IDL.

On December 24th, 1963, it was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport to honor the memory of the late President John F. Kennedy, and hence received the new IATA airport code of JFK.

The Beatles were welcomed into the United States in 1964 at this airport, creating a historic moment in time both for music and the airport.

The Concorde SST, operated by Air France and British Airways, provided scheduled trans-Atlantic supersonic service to JFK from 1975 until 2003, when Concorde was retired by both carriers, ending civilian supersonic travel. JFK had the most SST operations annually of any airport in the world.

After the September 11th attacks in 2001, JFK was one of the first airports to be temporarily closed.


JFK has been the site of several notable air disasters.

The most recent disaster at JFK was American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300 that crashed on November 12, 2001, while en route to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. During takeoff, the aircraft lost most of its vertical fin due to wake turbulence and crashed into the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Queens. The crash killed all 260 persons on the plane and five people on the ground.

Other disasters involving JFK include:

Several aircraft based at JFK were also targets of the failed Project Bojinka terrorist plot in 1995.

Structure and Function

FAA diagram of JFK Airport

Four runways in two parallel pairs surround the central terminal area. Runway 13R-31L is the second longest commercial runway in North America, at a length of 14,572 ft (4,441 m).

The 1948 Temporary Terminal was the sole terminal until 1957. The 1957 International Arrivals Building was itself replaced by the $1.4B Terminal 4 in 2001. Eight other "Unit Terminals" were constructed from 1958 to 1971: each was designed by one of the airport's main airlines. Replacements for some of the original terminals have been completed or are under development. There are also numerous large facilities north and west of the central terminals for air cargo handling and loading.

Terminal 3, Pan Am's JFK Worldport, was opened in 1962. It featured a large, elliptical roof suspended by 32 sets of radial posts and cables. The roof extended far beyond the base of the terminal and covered the passenger loading area. It introducted special bridges that connected to the terminal and that could be moved to provide an easy walkway for passengers from the terminal to a docked aircraft.

Terminal 5, the TWA Flight Center, also opened in 1962. It was designed by the famous furniture designer Eero Saarinen. It came to feature two flight wings, which contained the gates.

Both Terminal 5 and Terminal 3 were modified in the 1970s to accommodate 747s.

In 1998, the airport began construction of a light-rail system called the AirTrain, designed to link JFK's passenger terminals to New York City's general mass transit system via Howard Beach and Jamaica Station. After over a year of delay, caused by the death of an employee during testing, the system opened on December 17, 2003. The AirTrain provides connections to the A, E, J, and Z subway lines, as well as the Long Island Rail Road.

Terminal 1

The site was originally occupied by Eastern Airlines 1958 terminal. The original terminal was demolished and replaced by a new terminal, financed by a consortium of four international airlines (Air France, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, and Lufthansa), which was completed in 1998 and has eleven gates.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 was completed in 1962 for Northwest Airlines, Northeast Airlines, and Braniff Airways. It later evolved as an extension of the Pan Am terminal (see below) for domestic flights. Delta Air Lines acquired the terminal in Pan Am's wake and now uses it primarily for its low-fare subsidiary, Song. T2 has eleven gates.

Terminal 3

Terminal 3, which opened in 1960, was constructed for Pan American World Airways and was originally known as the Pan American Airlines Terminal. In 1971 it was expanded as the Pan Am Worldport. It is particularly famous for its "flying saucer" roof and rooftop parking facilities: upon its expansion in 1972, it was also briefly the world's largest airline terminal. Delta Air Lines purchased the terminal lease from failing Pan Am in 1991, and announced plans to demolish the terminal entirely in 2000, but later opted to refurbish the terminal instead. T3 has seventeen gates.

Terminal 4

Terminal 4 opened in 2001 to replace the former International Arrivals Terminal. (The International Arrivals Terminal was an international style building that was built in the 1950s, and was one of the airport's earliest terminals.) It is the only 24-hour terminal at the airport, and features a modular design that will allow it to be expanded further if necessary. It currently has sixteen gates.

Terminal 5

The former TWA terminal, designed by Eero Saarinen and completed in 1962, is the airport's most famous landmark. Following the buyout of TWA by American Airlines in 2001, Terminal 5 is not in use: its unique architectural features preclude installing modern security and ticketing facilities. The Port Authority has proposed converting the main portion of the building into a restaurant and conference center, although some architectural critics have opposed this move. The peripheral airside parts of Terminal 5 are expected to be demolished to make space for a mostly new terminal, possibly for an expanded JetBlue, but incorporating the classic Saarinen structure in its front center area.

Terminal 6

Terminal 6 was originally built for National Airlines in 1969: TWA procured the building lease after National was sold to Pan Am. Following TWA's demise, T6 was partly renovated for the use of JetBlue Airways, requiring $7.5 million of capital investment for new terminal facilities and roadway upgrades. JetBlue's main operations hub is now housed in Terminal 6. It has thirteen gates.

  • JetBlue Airways (Aguadilla, Buffalo, Burlington, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Long Beach, New Orleans, Oakland, Ontario, Orlando, Rochester, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Jose CA, San Juan, Santiago DR, Santo Domingo, Seattle, Syracuse, Tampa, West Palm Beach)

Terminal 7

Terminal 7 was originally known as the British Airways Terminal. It was completed in 1970 and extensively expanded and refurbished in 1991 and again in 2003. It has twelve gates.

Terminal 8

Terminal 8 was completed in 1960 and originally known as the American Airlines Terminal. It is easily recognizable by the ornate mural over the front of the building. It has fifteen gates.

  • American Airlines (Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Cancun, Caracas, Kingston, London Heathrow, Montego Bay, Paris de Gaulle, Port au Prince, Providenciales, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Rome Fiumicino, St. Maarten, Santiago DR, Tokyo Narita, Zurich)
  • Finnair (Helsinki/Vantaa)

Terminal 9

Terminal 9, completed in 1959, has ten gates. Both Terminal 8 and Terminal 9 will be replaced by a $1.4 billion, 2.2 million ft² (200,000 m²) "mega-terminal" in 2007, which will accommodate American Airlines' international and domestic passengers in one facility.

  • American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Miami, Santa Ana/Orange County, Phoenix, St. Thomas, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose CA, San Juan, Seattle/Tacoma)
  • American Eagle (Boston, Halifax, Montreal, Raleigh/Durham, Washington Reagan)

Other facilities

JFK has dedicated cargo terminals for Continental Airlines, Emirates SkyCargo, EVA Air, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Northwest Airlines, and United Airlines. Most cargo and maintenance facilities at JFK are located north and west of the main terminal area.

JetBlue Airways is currently building a central maintenance and support base at JFK, which will be completed in 2005.

JFK Airport in film

External link

  • http://www.panynj.gov/aviation/jfkframe.HTM

  Results from FactBites:
John F. Kennedy International Airport - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3591 words)
The airport is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages the three other major airports in the New York metropolitan area, Newark Liberty International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Teterboro Airport.
Construction of the airport began in 1942 with modest ambitions.
The airport was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport in 1963, one month after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
USCCB - (MRS) - Civil Aviation Apostolate (464 words)
Airport ministry or the Civil Aviation Apostolate is an expression of the Catholic ChurchÂ’s concern for pastoral care of people on the move.
Airport ministry is the pastoral care of persons who travel, those who assist them and others—passengers, airport and airline personnel, visitors, and the homeless and refugees.
Airport chaplaincies are established by the bishop of the (arch)diocese in which the airport is located.
  More results at FactBites »



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