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John F. Kennedy International Airport is an international airport located in Queens Countymarker, New Yorkmarker in southeastern New York Citymarker about 12 miles (19 km) from Lower Manhattan. It is the busiest international air passenger gateway to the United Statesmarker and is also the leading freight gateway to the country by value of shipments.

JFK airport is the base of operations for JetBlue Airways and a major international gateway hub for Delta Air Lines. It is also the fourth largest hub for American Airlines. Ninety airlines operate out of JFK. The airport is named after John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.

The airport is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which also manages the two other major airports in the New York metropolitan area, Newark Libertymarker and LaGuardiamarker.



JFK Airport was originally known as Idlewild Airport after the Idlewild Golf Course that it displaced. The airport was originally envisioned as a reliever for LaGuardia Airportmarker, which was already showing signs of insufficient capacity in the late 1930s. Construction began in 1943; approximately $60 million was initially spent, but only of land on the site of the Idlewild golf course were earmarked for use.

The project was renamed Major General Alexander E. Anderson Airport in 1943 after a Queens resident who had commanded a Federalized National Guard unit in the southern United States and who had died in late 1942. In March 1948, the New York City Council again changed the name of the airport to New York International Airport, Anderson Field, but the name "Idlewild" remained in common use until 1963.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey leased the airport property from the City of New York in 1947 and maintains this lease today. The first commercial flight at the airport was on July 1, 1948; the opening ceremony was attended by President Harry Truman. Upon opening Idlewild, the Port Authority cancelled foreign airlines' permits to use LaGuardia, effectively forcing them to move to the new airport.

The airport was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport in 1963, one month after the assassination of President John F. Kennedymarker.


The Port Authority originally envisioned a single 55-gate terminal for the airport, but the major airlines of the time did not agree with this plan, arguing that the terminal would be far too small for future traffic.Alastair Gordon, Naked Airport (U. of Chicago Press) Architect Wallace Harrison then designed a master plan under which each major airline at the airport would be given its own space to develop its own terminal design.Hugh Pearman, Airports (Laurence King). This scheme made construction more practical, made terminals more navigable and introduced incentives for airlines to compete with each other for the best design. The revised master plan met airline approval in 1955.

  • The International Arrivals Building was the first new terminal project at the airport. It was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and featured perpendicular "finger" piers to allow a greater number of aircraft to park, a major design innovation at the time.
  • United Airlines opened Terminal 9, a Skidmore design similar to that of the IAB, in October 1959. Eastern Airlines opened its Chester L. Churchill-designed Terminal 1 one month later.
  • American Airlines opened its Terminal 8 in 1960. The terminal was designed by Kahn and Jacobs and became known for its stained glass facade designed by Robert Sowers, which was the largest stained glass installation in the world until 1979. The facade was removed in 2007 as the terminal was demolished to make room for the new Terminal 8; American cited the prohibitive cost of removing the enormous installation.
  • Pan American World Airways opened the Worldportmarker (now Terminal 3) in 1960. It featured a large, elliptical roof suspended by 32 sets of radial posts and cables; the roof extended beyond the base of the terminal to cover the passenger loading area. It was one of the first airline terminals in the world to feature Jetways that connected to the terminal and that could be moved to provide an easy walkway for passengers from the terminal to a docked aircraft, rather than having to board the plane outside via airstairs, which descend from an aircraft, via truck-mounted mobile stairs, or via wheeled stairs.
  • Trans World Airlines opened the TWA Flight Centermarker in 1962, designed by Eero Saarinen with a distinctive winged-bird shape. With the demise of TWA in 2001, the terminal remained vacant until 2005 when JetBlue Airways and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey financed the construction of a new 26 gate terminal partially encircling the Saarinen building. Called now Terminal 5 (or simply T5), the new terminal opened October 22, 2008. T5 will be connected to the Saarinen central building through the original passenger departure-arrival tubes which connected the building to the outlying gates; the Port Authority is working on renovations of the remaining original Saarinen terminal, also known as the head house.
  • Northwest Airlines, Braniff International and Northeast Airlines opened a joint terminal in 1962.
  • National Airlines opened the Sundromemarker (now Terminal 6) in 1970. The terminal was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. In 2001, United Airlines planned to redevelop this terminal and the TWA Flight Center as a new United terminal, but the airline later reduced its operation at JFK and abandoned plans for a future JFK hub. Terminal 6 was used by JetBlue Airways from 2001 through 2008 and vacated when JetBlue moved to Terminal 5.

Terminal 4 replaced the former International Arrivals Building in May 2001

JFK was designed to accommodate aircraft no larger than a Douglas DC-6 and had to be significantly modified in the late 1960s to accommodate Boeing 747s.

By the mid-1980s, JFK had overtaken Newark International Airportmarker to become New York City's busiest airport. The supersonic Concorde, operated by Air France and British Airways, provided scheduled trans-Atlantic supersonic service to JFK from 1977 until 2003, when Concorde was retired by both carriers. JFK had the most Concorde operations annually of any airport in the world.

JFK is currently undergoing a $10.3 billion redevelopment. The airport began construction of the AirTrain JFK rapid transit system in 1998; completed in December 2003, the rail network links each airport terminal to New York City subways and regional commuter trains at Howard Beachmarker and Jamaica, Queensmarker. The airport opened a new Terminal 1 in 1998, and the $1.4 billion replacement for the International Arrivals Building, Terminal 4, opened in 2001. Construction has been completed on JetBlue Airways's new Terminal 5, which incorporates the historic landmark TWA FlightCenter terminal, while Terminals 8 and 9 are undergoing redevelopment as one single Terminal 8 for the American Airlines hub. In 2008 the Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved a $20 million planning study for the redevelopment of Terminals 2 and 3, the hub of Delta Air Lines.

On March 19, 2007, JFK became the first airport in the United States to receive the Airbus A380 with passengers aboard. The route-proving flight with more than 500 passengers was operated jointly by Lufthansa and Airbus and arrived at Terminal 1. On August 1, 2008, JFK received the first regularly-scheduled commercial A380 flight to the United States, operated by Emirates on its New York-Dubai route using Terminal 4. This service was suspended indefinitely in 2009, due to poor passenger demand.

Terminals, airlines, and destinations

JFK has eight passenger terminals containing 151 gates. The terminal buildings are arranged in a deformed U-shaped wavy pattern around a central area containing parking, hotels, a power plant, and other airport facilities. The terminals are connected by the AirTrain system and access roads. Wayfinding signage throughout the terminals was designed by Paul Mijksenaar. A 2006 survey by J.D. Power and Associates in conjunction with Aviation Week found JFK ranked second in overall traveller satisfaction among large airports in the United States, behind McCarran International Airportmarker which serves the Las Vegas metropolitan area.


Terminal 1

Terminal 1

The original Terminal 1, built as a hub for Eastern Airlines, was demolished.

The current Terminal 1 was opened in 1998, 50 years after the opening of JFK, at the direction of the Terminal One Group, a consortium of four key operating carriers: Air France, Japan Airlines, Korean Air and Lufthansamarker. This partnership was founded after the four airlines reached agreement that existing international carrier facilities were inadequate for their needs.

Terminal 1 has 11 gates.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 was opened in 1962 as the home of Northeast Airlines, Braniff and Northwest Airlines. After the demise of Northeast Airlines and Braniff the building was taken over by Delta Air Lines. Delta hopes to merge its two terminals at JFK (2 & 3) into a single modern terminal in the future.

Terminal 2 has 7 jetway-equipped gates (20-22, 26-29) and 17 stands for Delta Connection carriers (23A-H, 23J, 25K-N, 25P-S).

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 was built as the Worldportmarker in 1960 for Pan American, and substantially expanded for the introduction of the 747 in 1970. Delta Air Lines currently uses the entire terminal, and has a connector to Terminal 2, its other terminal at JFK. Terminal 3 has 16 jetway equipped gates: 1-10, 12, 14-18 with two hardstand gates (Gate 11) and a helipad on Taxiway 'KK'

Terminal 4

Terminal 4, the international terminal, is able to handle the Airbus A380 and was developed by LCOR, Inc and is managed by the Schiphol Group. It was the first airport terminal in the United States to be managed by a foreign airport operator. Terminal 4 is the major gateway for International Arrivals at JFK. Opened in 2001, the new building was built at a cost of $1.4 billion and replaced JFK's old International Arrivals Building, or simply IAB, which opened in 1957.

Terminal 4 has 17 gates in two concourses: A2-A7, B20, B22-B31.

Concourse A has six gates, numbered A2-A7. Concourse B has eleven gates, numbered B20-B31, excluding B21. As Terminal 4 was built during the construction of the AirTrain, the AirTrain station was built inside the terminal building. Other AirTrain stations are built across from terminal buildings. Terminal 4’s expansive shopping mall offers a wide range of retail options before security so passengers and their families can enjoy shopping and dining together. Four chapels are located on the fourth floor (departure level).

Terminal 5

Terminal 5, also known as the TWA Flight Centermarker, is the new home of JetBlue Airways. The active 26 gate terminal sits behind the Eero Saarinen built terminal has been branded by JetBlue as T5. The Saarinen building is closed for refurbishment, it is unclear when the building will reopen and what purpose it will have. Terminal 5 has 26 gates: 1-12, 14-27

Terminal 6

Terminal 6, built in 1970 as the National Airlines Sundromemarker designed by I. M. Pei, has 14 gates. On June 1, 2006, JetBlue opened a temporary terminal complex that added seven gates onto the terminal and increased the capacity for more flights.Terminal 6 is now closed. It had 14 gates and is the former home of JetBlue Airways. United Airlines used it for its transcontinental flights until Jetblue came to the terminal. Its future is unknown at this point, but it has been confirmed that the temporary gates will be demolished.

Terminal 7

Terminal 7 was built for BOAC and Air Canada in the early 1970s. It is currently owned and operated by British Airways. In 1997, the Port Authority entered an agreement with British Airways to expand the terminal. The renovated terminal has 12 gates. On May 21, 2008, British Airways announced that it would undertake a $30 million, 18-month-long project to enhance its premium ground facilities at the terminal. Scheduled to launch in June 2009, the project will involve creation of a new premium check-in "pavilion" with dedicated curbside drop-off for FIRST and Executive Gold Club customers, an enhanced and dedicated check-in area for Club World and Executive Club Silver customers and renovation of Terraces, First Class and Concorde Lounges.

Terminal 8

In 1999, American Airlines began an eight-year program to build the largest passenger terminal at JFK to replace terminals 8 and 9. The new terminal was built in four phases, which involved the construction of a new midfield concourse, demolition of the old Terminal 9, and finally demolition of the old Terminal 8. It opened in stages between 2005 and its "official" opening in August 2007.

The terminal is about 50% larger than Madison Square Gardenmarker. It offers dozens of retail and food outlets, 84 ticket counters, 44 self-service kiosks, 10 security lanes and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility that can process more than 1,600 people an hour. It has two American Airlines Admirals Clubs and a Flagship Lounge for premium class passengers.

Terminal 8 has 29 gates: 12 gates in Concourse B (1-8, 10, 12, 14, and 16) and 17 gates in Concourse C (31-47). Gate 31 is further subdivided into 5 regional service gates for small jets, 31A-31E. Gate 32 is subdivided into 4 regional service gates for small jets, 32F-32I. The total number of jetbridges is, therefore, 36.

Airlines and destinations

: Qantas flights stop at Los Angeles on route to Sydney, but do not have rights to carry domestic passengers between New York and Los Angeles

Cities served by direct international airlinks to John F. Kennedy International Airport

Infrastructure and services

Traffic and statistics

In 2008, JFK International Airport handled 47,807,816 passengers.

JFK contributes about $30.1 billion in economic activity to the New York City region, generating 229,000 jobs and about $9.8 billion in wages and salaries. About 35,000 people are employed at the airport.

By passengers carried, the five largest airlines at JFK are:
  1. JetBlue Airways (25.5%)
  2. Delta Air Lines (including Delta Connection carriers) (21.9%)
  3. American Airlines (including American Eagle) (16.7%)
  4. British Airways (2.8%)
  5. Air France (1.9%)

Nearly 100 airlines from over 50 countries operate regularly scheduled flights from JFK. The JFK-London Heathrowmarker route is the leading U.S. international airport pair with over 2.9 million passengers in 2008. Domestic travel also accounts for a large share of airport traffic, particularly transcontinental and Floridamarker service.

Busiest International Routes from JFK (2008)
Rank City Passengers Top Carriers
1 London-Heathrow, United Kingdommarker 2,928,307 American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic, Kuwait Airways
2 Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Francemarker 1,177,019 Air France, American Airlines, XL Airways France (seasonal)
3 Frankfurt, Germanymarker 646,900 Delta Air Lines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines
4 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republicmarker 579,954 American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue
5 Rome, Italymarker 564,110 Alitalia, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Eurofly
6 Santiago, Dominican Republicmarker 556,668 American Airlines, JetBlue, Delta Air Lines
7 Tokyo-Narita, Japanmarker 552,504 All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Japan Airlines, Northwest Airlines
8 Tel Aviv, Israelmarker 546,135 Delta Air Lines, El Al
9 Amsterdam, the Netherlandsmarker 533,667 Delta Air Lines, KLM
10 Seoul, South Koreamarker 516,414 Asiana Airlines, Korean Air
11 Mexico City, Mexicomarker 464,775 Aeroméxico, Delta Air Lines, Mexicana
12 São Paulo-Guarulhos, Brazilmarker 461,064 American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, TAM Airlines, Japan Airlines
13 Madrid, Spainmarker 459,613 Air Europa, Iberia, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines
14 Dublin, Irelandmarker 455,706 Aer Lingus, Delta Air Lines
15 Dubai, UAEmarker 418,665 Emirates
16 Zürich, Switzerlandmarker 367,214 American Airlines, Delta Air Lines (seasonal), Swiss International Air Lines
17 Hong Kong, Chinamarker 341,418 Cathay Pacific
18 Cancun, Mexicomarker 327,252 American Airlines, JetBlue, Mexicana
19 Montego Bay, Jamaicamarker 315,301 Air Jamaica, American Airlines, JetBlue
20 Milan, Italymarker 283,637 Alitalia, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines
21 Oranjestad, Arubamarker 272,291 American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue
22 Istanbul, Turkeymarker 270,832 Delta Air Lines, Turkish Airlines
23 Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobagomarker 246,789 Caribbean Airlines, Delta Air Lines
24 Athens, Greecemarker 245,551 Delta Air Lines
25 Moscow, Russiamarker 229,873 Aeroflot, Delta Air Lines
26 Shannon, Irelandmarker 224,233 Aer Lingus, Delta Air Lines (seasonal)
27 Brussels, Belgiummarker 222,413 American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Jet Airways
28 Munich, Germanymarker 218,166 Lufthansa
29 Cairo, Egyptmarker 216,870 Delta Air Lines, EgyptAir
30 Mumbai, Indiamarker 215,477 Air India
Busiest Domestic Routes from JFK (2008)
Rank City Passengers Top Carriers
1 Los Angeles, Californiamarker 1,898,020 American, Delta, JetBlue, United Airlines, Virgin America
2 San Francisco, Californiamarker 1,551,630 American, Delta, JetBlue, United, Virgin America
3 Orlando, Floridamarker 1,183,270 American, Delta, JetBlue
4 Las Vegas, Nevadamarker 1,066,390 Delta, JetBlue, US Airways
5 San Juan, Puerto Ricomarker 1,033,010 American, Delta, JetBlue
6 Fort Lauderdale, Floridamarker 1,009,000 Delta, JetBlue
7 Miami, Floridamarker 927,640 American, Delta
8 Tampa, Floridamarker 665,750 American, Delta, JetBlue
9 Buffalo, New Yorkmarker 624,820 JetBlue, Delta
10 Boston, Massachusettsmarker 573,530 Delta, JetBlue, American
11 West Palm Beach, Floridamarker 536,640 JetBlue
12 Washington-Dulles, District of Columbiamarker 471,730 American, Delta, JetBlue, United
13 San Diego, Californiamarker 462,360 American, Delta, JetBlue
14 Seattle-Tacoma, Washingtonmarker 459,150 American, Delta, JetBlue
15 Phoenix, Arizonamarker 447,600 Delta, JetBlue, US Airways
16 Chicago, Illinoismarker 439,470 American, Delta, JetBlue,
17 Atlanta, Georgiamarker 386,100 Delta
18 Long Beach, Californiamarker 360,300 JetBlue
19 Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesotamarker 360,180 Northwest
20 Fort Myers, Floridamarker 337,390 Delta, JetBlue
21 Burbank, Californiamarker 334,030 JetBlue
22 Salt Lake City, Utahmarker 326,500 Delta, JetBlue
23 Raleigh-Durham, North Carolinamarker 307,720 American, JetBlue, Delta
24 Houston-Intercontinental, Texasmarker 296,140 Delta Connection operated by Comair
25 Rochester, New Yorkmarker 275,540 JetBlue, Delta
26 Oakland, Californiamarker 257,580 JetBlue
27 Charlotte, North Carolinamarker 235,540 JetBlue,US Airways
28 Denver, Coloradomarker 224,990 Delta, JetBlue
29 New Orleans, Louisianamarker 214,630 Delta, JetBlue
30 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker 209,910 JetBlue, American, Delta

Air freight

JFK is the nation’s busiest international air freight gateway by value of shipments and the second busiest overall by value including all air, land and sea U.S. freight gateways. Over 21% of all U.S. international air freight by value and 11% by tonnage moved through JFK in 2003.

The JFK air cargo complex is a Foreign Trade Zone which legally lies outside the customs area of the United States. JFK is a major hub for air cargo between the United States and Europe. London, Brussels and Frankfurt are JFK's three top trade routes. The European airports are mostly a link in a global supply chain, however. The top destination markets for cargo flying out of JFK in 2003 were Tokyo, Seoul and London. Similarly, the top origin markets for imports at JFK were Seoul, Hong Kong, and Taipei, with London taking the fourth spot.

Nearly 100 cargo air carriers operate out of JFK, among them:Air China Cargo, ABX Air, Aerologic (operation beginning mid 2009),Asiana, Astar Air Cargo, Atlas Air, CAL Cargo Air Lines, Cargolux, Cargoitalia, Cathay Pacific Cargo, Centurion Air Cargo, China Airlines, DHL, EVA Air, Evergreen International Airlines, Nippon Cargo Airlines, FedEx Express, DHL Air UK, Kalitta Air, Korean Air, Yangtze River Express (operation beginning September 2009), Lufthansa Cargo, Prince Edward Air, United Cargo, UPSmarker, Southern Air. Top 5 carriers together transported 33.1% of all “revenue” freight in 2005: American Airlines (10.9% of the total), FedEx Express (8.8%), Lufthansa Cargo (5.2%), Korean Air Cargo (4.9%), China Airlines (3.8%).

Most cargo and maintenance facilities at JFK are located north and west of the main terminal area. DHL, FedEx Express, Japan Airlines, Lufthansamarker, Nippon Cargo Airlines and United Airlines have cargo facilities at JFK. In 2000, Korean Air Cargo opened a new $102 million cargo terminal at JFK with total floor area of and capability of handling 200,000 tons annually. In 2007, American Airlines opened a new priority parcel service facility at their Terminal 8, featuring 30-minute drop-offs and pick-ups for priority parcel shipments within the US.

Runways and operational infrastructure

Four runways (two pairs of parallel runways) surround the airport's central terminal area.

Number Length Width ILS Notes
13R-31L Cat. I (31L) Second-longest commercial runway in North America (the longest is a runway at Denver International Airportmarker). Adjacent to Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Handles approximately one half of the airport's scheduled departures. Scheduled to close for 120 days in 2010 to be widened and resurfaced.
4R-22L Cat. III (both directions) Equipped at both ends with Approach Lighting Systems (ALS) with sequenced flashers, and touchdown zone (TDZ) lighting. The first Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS) in North America was installed at the northeast end of the runway in 1996. The bed consists of cellular cement material, which can safely decelerate and stop an aircraft that overruns the runway. The arrestor bed concept was originated and developed by the Port Authority and installed at JFK Airport as a joint research and development project with the FAA and industry.
4L-22R Cat. I (both directions) Adjacent to Terminals 4 and 5. Both ends allow instrument landings down to three-quarters of a mile visibility. Takeoffs can be conducted with one-eighth of a mile visibility.
13L-31R Cat. II (13L); Cat. I (31R) Equipped at both ends with ILS and ALS systems. Runway 13L has two additional visual aids for landing aircraft, a Visual Approach Slope Indicator System (VASI) and a Lead-In Lighting System (LDIN). The ILS on 13L, along with TDZ lighting, allows landings down to half a mile visibility. Takeoffs can be made with visibility of one-eighth of a mile.

Plane queue on the taxiway
JFK has over of taxiways to move aircraft in and around the airfield. The standard width of these taxiways is , with heavy-duty shoulders and erosion control pavements on each side. The taxiways have centerline lights and are generally of asphalt concrete composition 15 to thick. An illuminated sign system provides directional information for taxiing aircraft.

The Air Traffic Control Tower, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and constructed on the ramp-side of Terminal 4, began full FAA operations in October 1994. An Airport Surface Detection Equipment (ASDE) radar unit sits atop the tower. A gas-fired electric cogeneration plant generates electricity for the airport, with an output of about 90 megawatts. It uses thermal energy from the capture of waste heat to heat and cool all of the passenger terminals and other facilities in the central terminal area.

Aircraft service facilities include seven aircraft hangars, an engine overhaul building, a 32-million gallon aircraft fuel storage facility, and a truck garage.

Information services

In the immediate vicinity of the airport, parking and other information can be obtained by tuning to a highway advisory radio station at 1630 AM. A second station at 1700 AM provides information on traffic concerns for drivers leaving the airport.

Kennedy Airport, along with LaGuardia and Newark airports, uses a uniform style of signing throughout the airport properties. Yellow signs direct passengers to airline gates, ticketing and other flight services; green signs direct passengers to ground transportation services, and black signs lead to restrooms, telephones and other passenger amenities.

A former New York Citymarker traffic reporter, Bernie Wagenblast, provides the voice for the airport's radio stations and the messages heard onboard AirTrain JFK and in its stations.



JFK is connected to New York's subway and commuter rail system by AirTrain JFK. AirTrain stops at all terminals, parking lots, hotel shuttle areas, car rental lots, 2 subway stations & the Long Island Rail Road. It is free within the airport. Travel time between JFK and Midtown Manhattan is approximately 30–40 minutes (depending on the originating/terminating terminal at JFK) using AirTrain and the Long Island Rail Road at Jamaica Stationmarker; or approximately 75 minutes between JFK and Downtown Manhattan using AirTrain and the New York City Subway A train at Howard Beach-JFK Stationmarker or the E (to Midtown Manhattan), J and Z (to Downtown Manhattan) trains at Sutphin Boulevard Stationmarker.

A Lower Manhattan-Jamaica/JFK Transportation Project has been proposed to connect the AirTrain to Lower Manhattan.


Several city bus lines link JFK to the New York City Subway and Long Island Rail Road, including the Q3, Q6, Q7, Q10 (Local/Limited), and B15, with free transfers provided for subway connections. The buses are handicapped accessible. There are also many private bus lines operating express buses to Manhattan, the Hudson Valley, and Long Island.


New York City's yellow cabs, operated by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, offer a flat rate service of $45 from JFK airport to Manhattan, excluding tips and tolls. Since November 30, 2006, this flat rate fare (excluding tips and tolls) applies to travel from Manhattan to JFK as well. Depending on the time of day, taxi travel from JFK to Midtown Manhattan can be as quick as 35 minutes. Door-to-door Car Service is another popular transportation option.


JFK Airport is easily accessible by car and is located in southern Queens on Van Wyck Expressway (I-678), which can be accessed from Belt Parkway, Grand Central Parkway and Queens Boulevardmarker. A ring road connects the airport terminals to the Belt Parkway and the Van Wyck Expressway. The airport offers customers over 17,000 parking spaces, included in multi-level parking garages, surface spaces in the Central Terminal Area, a long-term parking lot and valet parking.

Van Wyck Expressway twists through the terminal nucleus and turns into the JFK Expressway. This four-lane expressway allows for more convenient access to the airport for Long Island users via the westbound Belt Parkway. Because it lies almost entirely within Kennedy Airport, the JFK Expressway was constructed, and is maintained by the Port Authority. The JFK Expressway was built as part of an ongoing, multi-billion overhaul of Kennedy Airport that began in the late 1980s. It was designed to relieve up to 30 percent of the traffic volume from the Van Wyck Expressway.Approximately 6 major rental car companies serve JFK Airport, with rental locations located on and off the airport. Each terminal's arrivals level (usually near the baggage carousel) has either a rental car counter or courtesy telephone for each of the car rental companies.


US Helicopter departing from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport
US Helicopter operated regularly scheduled flights every hour between Terminal 3 and the East 34th Street Heliportmarker. Passengers traveling by helicopter to the airport passed through a security checkpoint at the heliport, not at JFK. On May 14, 2007, US Helicopter moved its operations from Terminal 9 to Terminal 3. US Helicopter announced that it was temporarily suspending operations on September 25, 2009 due to financial difficulties.

New York Airways provided helicopter service from JFK to other area airports and heliports from 1955 to 1979, and Pan American World Airways continued Manhattan helicopter service during the 1980s in order to feed its JFK flights. During the 1970s, New York Helicopter offered JFK flights from the top of the Pan Am Buildingmarker in midtown Manhattan, but this service was cancelled after a major accident in 1977.

Accidents and incidents

JFK has been the site of several notable aviation accidents and incidents.

  • December 18, 1954 - a Linee Aeree Italiane Douglas DC-6 crashed on its fourth approach attempt to land at Idlewild (the former name of JFK), after circling for 2.5 hours. 26 of the 32 passengers on board were killed.
  • November 10, 1958 - Vickers Viscount, CF-TGL of Trans-Canada Air Lines was destroyed by fire after it was struck by Lockheed L-749 Super Constellation N6503C of Seaboard & Western Airlines which had crashed on take-off.
  • December 16, 1960 - a United Airlines Douglas DC-8 collidedmarker with a TWA Super Constellation on approach to the airport; the United jet crashed in a Brooklynmarker neighborhood, the TWA plane on Staten Islandmarker, killing 127 people on board and five on the ground.
  • March 1, 1962 - American Airlines Flight 1 [14657], a Boeing 707 crashed on takeoff from Idlewild after its rudder separated from the tail. All 95 passengers and 12 crew members were killed.
  • November 30, 1962 - an Eastern Air Lines Douglas DC-7 crashed into the ground during a missed approach.
  • February 8, 1965 - an Eastern Air Lines Douglas DC-7 crashed off Jones Beachmarker after takeoff when the pilots found themselves on an apparent collision course with an inbound Pan Am Boeing 707 and made evasive maneuvers.
  • 1967 - The Air France Robbery targeted $420,000 in cash brought in as Air France cargo.
  • September 8, 1970 - a Trans International Airlines DC-8-63CF ferry flight to Dulles International Airportmarker crashed on takeoff from runway 13R, killing all 11 crewmembers on board. The DC-8 freighter started rotating in a nose-high attitude into the take-off. After becoming airborne at down the runway, the aircraft climbed to about 300–500 feet, rolled 20 degrees to the left, crashed and caught fire. The loss of pitch control was caused by the entrapment of a pointed, asphalt-covered object between the leading edge of the right elevator and the right horizontal spar web access door in the aft part of the stabilizer.
  • December 1, 1974 - Northwest Orient Flight 6231 a Boeing 727 chartered to pick up the Baltimore Colts in Buffalomarker crashed near Thiells, New Yorkmarker. The flight departed John F. Kennedy International Airport with only the cockpit crew onboard. The pitot heat was not turned on and the tube iced over during climb out making the airspeed readings unreliable. The plane stalled passing 23,000' and the crew was unable to regain control. All 3 crewmembers onboard were killed.
  • June 24, 1975 - Eastern Air Lines Flight 66, a Boeing 727 on final approach from New Orleansmarker, crashed into the runway lights short of runway 22L, killing 112 passengers and crew. The cause of the crash was wind shear during a heavy thunderstorm.
  • December 11, 1978 - The Lufthansa heist targeted over $5 million in cash and jewels on a Lufthansa flight arriving from Germany; at the time, it was the largest cash robbery ever committed on American soil.
  • January 25, 1990 - Avianca Flight 52, a Boeing 707-321B arriving from Bogotá and Medellin, crashed at Cove Neckmarker, Long Islandmarker, after a missed approach at JFK and subsequently running out of fuel.
  • July 30, 1992 - TWA Flight 843, a Lockheed L-1011 departing for San Francisco, aborted takeoff shortly after liftoff. There were no fatalities among the 280 passengers, although the aircraft was destroyed.
  • November 12, 2001 - American Airlines Flight 587marker, an Airbus A300 crashed while en route to Santo Domingomarker in the Dominican Republicmarker. During climb, the aircraft lost most of its vertical fin due to the co-pilot's overcontrol of the rudder while encountering wake turbulence, and crashed into the Belle Harbormarker neighborhood of Queens. The crash killed all 260 people on the plane and five people on the ground.
  • On September 6, 2007, TAM Airlines Flight 8080 suffered a heavy landing due to the elevators not responding in the landing flare. An investigation revealed that #2 flight control primary computer did not match #1 and #3 computers, sending erroneous messages to the actuators for the elevators.

Other accidents and incidents involving JFK include:

In popular culture

As one of the major international gateways in the United States, JFK possesses a high profile in popular culture. The British Invasion began with the arrival of The Beatles at JFK in 1964, who held their first American press conference at the airport.
The Beatles arrive at JFK Airport
Rapper Notorious B.I.G. references the airport's code name in the song "Going Back to Cali." The theme song of the 1960s comedy TV series Car 54, Where Are You? contained a line reading: "There's a scout troop short a child, [Nikita] Khrushchev's due at Idlewild," referencing the airport's previous name, Idlewild. In his one-man show Red diaper baby, Josh Kornbluth's eccentric communist father insists on referring to JFK as the "Bay of Pigs Memorial Airport". JFK is also mentioned in the U2 song, "Angel of Harlem", as well as the song "The City" by Joe Purdy. In the Simpsons episode "$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)" Mr. Burns builds the 'Spruce Moose' a parody of Howard Hughes's 'Spruce Goose' airplane, which he claims will fly from New York's Idlewild Airport to the Belgian Congo in seventeen minutes. A futuristic version of JFK was featured in The Fifth Element. In I Love Lucy, Lucy misses the USS Constitution bound for Europe and is forced to take a helicopter out of Idlewild Airport. Idlewild Airport was also mentioned in a Twilight Zone episode in which a plane en route to Idlewild travels through time.

Many films have used JFK as a setting:


External links

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