Largest airport in New York City, built once LaGuardia Airport became too small to satisfy New York's air traffic demand. Opened in 1948 on the site of the former Idlewild Golf Course, and re-christened JFK on Christmas Eve, 1963. Now handles forty million passengers on over three hundred thousand aircraft each year.

Formerly the headquarters for both American Airlines and Trans World Airlines (which are now, by sheer coincidence, the same airline), JFK is now an airport that everybody serves but that nobody calls their own.

Airlines

Biman Bangladesh, Ghana Airways, Kuwait Airways, and Uzbekistan Airlines, just to name a few. Again, every airline on Earth that possesses capable aircraft flies to JFK, from Aer Lingus to World Airways: it's only a question of where you want to go. Both Concordes once flew there.

In terms of passengers, the biggest operators at JFK are American Airlines (22% of traffic) and jetBlue (17% of traffic).

Terminals

Terminal 1: Opened by Air France, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, and Lufthansa in 1998 to replace the old, dingy, Austin Powers-relic International Terminal. Also used by Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, and Singapore Airlines.

Terminals 2 and 3: Opened in 1962 as the Pan Am WorldPort. Now, these terminals house Delta Airlines. Terminal 2 is also used by Grupo TACA, and Terminal 3 is used by Aeroflot, All Nippon Airways, and South African Airways.

Terminal 4: The oldest terminal still standing at JFK—it opened in 1958! Delta renovated it in 1994 at a cost of $1.4 billion. Also used by Aer Lingus, Aerolineas Argentinas, Air India, Asiana Airlines, Continental Airlines, El Al, Northwest Airlines, and Swiss.

Terminal 5: Opened in 1962 for TWA, designed by Eero Saarinen. One of the most beautiful terminals in the world: of course, it's closed.

Terminal 6: Opened in 1969 for TWA, designed by I. M. Pei (thanks to Chris-O for that tidbit). Now used by low-cost carrier jetBlue after $12 million of Port Authority renovations.

Terminal 7: Opened in 1970 for British Airways, and is also used by United Airlines. Renovated in 1997 for $100 million. Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas fly from here.

Terminals 8 and 9: Opened in 1960 for American Airlines. American operates international and domestic flights out of 8, and domestic flights out of 9. Iberia uses Terminal 8 as well. AA is currently building a huge expansion to its terminal complex in an attempt to keep up with the Joneses surrounding them: the construction will be complete in 2006.

Access

The AirTrain is now operational, connecting JFK to the New York Subway stations at Howard Beach and Jamaica Station, where a traveler can connect to the A Train or E Train, respectively, for a lovely ride into Penn Station. Jamaica Station also has a connection to the Long Island Railroad. The AirTrain costs $5.00, in addition to whatever fare the connecting train charges.

Car access to JFK is pretty much limited to the Van Wyck Expressway when going toward the city and the Nassau Expressway when going toward Long Island. By taxi, expect to pay out the ass to sit in traffic. There is also limousine bus from Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan (tickets can be purchased from the guys on the curbside carrying signs, for $11 each way).

If you are particularly wealthy or insane, you can charter a chopper from Liberty Helicopters to take you to the Downtown Manhattan Heliport.

Links

http://www.jfktower.com - listen to the control tower
http://www.panynj.gov - Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, JFK's airport authority

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