From its foundation 70 years ago, JFK International Airport has been the primary gateway airport for the United States. The development of the airport included 10 terminals largely developed by airlines during the aspirational golden years of flying and the dawn of the jet age. It was a place of national and local pride and included terminals with outstanding architecture and innovation for its time. It even included three chapels where there were frequent marriage services.
Since then, traffic has grown strongly, and while almost all terminals have been replaced, the introduction of terminal security after 9/11 and the lack of investment by airlines has resulted in a constant decline in passenger service quality. As of 2017, handling 60 million passengers, JFK had slipped to number 59 among the world’s top 100 airports in quality rating.
Led by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Governor’s Airport Advisory Panel set out a “vision” for the redevelopment of the airport into a unified world-class operation. This includes increasing capacity by two-thirds and restoring its status to the top tier of airports.
Our overall task was master planning for a JFK Airport that could handle 100 million passengers per year in 2050, and program planning for $10 billion of near-term developments. To achieve these targets, we undertook a range of activities including existing conditions assessment, forecast review, master planning across the whole airport property, and conceptual design for key elements. This was reinforced by our benchmarking of common features across world-class airports.
A key outcome of the benchmarking was the need for appropriate governance to ensure performance optimization. We then developed a wide range of governance actions related to the interfaces with stakeholders, the traveling public, the media, and within the organization. These were then rolled out into the upcoming contracts and protocols across all airports in the group.
World-class airports are not about providing great facilities. They are about making the best use of the facilities. Each airport is different, but the changes needed to develop a new world-class JFK covered the development of great facilities with resilience coupled with enhanced governance. In the next 10 years the terminal capacity will be increased by 50% through the development of new facilities. Much of the remaining airport will be subject to heavy renovation.
"Our plan for a transformed JFK envisions a unified, state-of-the-art airport to meet the demands of current and future passengers, and with this action, we're making these plans a reality," Governor Cuomo said in September 2017.