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HISTORY OF NEW YORK JFK AIRPORT - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

If you fly to Florida with an American carrier such as Delta, then you may well fly into John F Kennedy Airport, or JFK as it is more usually known. Originally known as Idlewild Airport, it later became Major General Alexander E Anderson Airport – quite a mouthful! Construction of the airport began in 1943, with only 1, 000 acres being utilised on land which once belonged to Idlewild Golf Course. Operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey under a lease from the City of New York, it operated its first commercial flight on July 1st, 1948. A few weeks later it was dedicated as New York International Airport.

When it opened in 1962, the Worldport (Pan Am), which is now called Terminal 3, was one of the world’s first airline terminals in the world to feature ‘jetways’ that connected to the terminal. These could be used to provide an easy walkway for passengers from the terminal to the aircraft, rather than boarding from the tarmac via ‘airstairs’ or mobile stairs mounted on a truck, or via wheeled stairs. It was in this year, too, that the TWA Flight Center, now known as Terminal 5, opened. It had been designed by Eero Saarinen, and was regarded as architecturally distinguished, but following the demise of TWA it fell vacant. Jet Blu and the Port Authority jointly financed the construction of a new terminal with 26 gates behind this building. Now named T5 it was the first airline terminal to be designed after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. As a result is contains one of the largest security checkpoints in the US, with 20 security lanes, and it can handle up to 20 million passengers each year. The original Saarinen building is being refurbished and it will later become an entry point to T5.

With the arrival of the new and bigger Boeing 747s Terminals 5 and 3 were modified to accommodate these huge airframes. Between 1977 and 2003, Air France and British Airways provided a supersonic scheduled trans-Atlantic service with Concorde, and JFK had the most Concorde operations of any airport in the world. By the mid 1990’s this busy airport had overtaken Newark International as New York’s busiest airport. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, a new airport slogan was introduced - ‘JFK: Where America Greets the World. ’

Following the 9/11 attacks, JFK was one of the first airports in the US to be temporarily closed, and it again made the headlines in March 2007 when it received the first Airbus A380 with passengers aboard. However, it was an Emirates flight from Dubai to New York which began the first regular scheduled commercial service.

American Airlines began a programme in 1999, lasting 8 years, to build the largest passenger terminal at JFK. This would replace the cramped and very old terminals 8 and 9. Officially opened in August 2007 this terminal offers many retail and food outlets and 84 ticket counters, and 44 self-service kiosks. With 10 security lanes, it can process more than 1, 600 people an hour.

John F Kennedy airport continues to grow and develop, and with its close proximity to Manhattan it is a great place to land if you are fortunate enough to be able to add a few days in New York to your trip onto Orlando.

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Page added on: 28 September 2009
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