An August 3, 2021, press release from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reached an agreement with private group JFK Millennium Partners on the construction of a new terminal at New York City’s JFK International Airport.
The 1.2 million-square-foot terminal is projected to cost $3.9 billion — the full extent of which will be supplied by the private consortium.
According to the press release, the development of the new terminal is expected to result in “4,000 direct jobs and direct payroll wages of $1.9 billion.” Additionally, the construction is projected to have a total economic impact amounting to “nearly $2.8 billion in total wages and $6.3 billion in total economic activity.” Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2022, with completion intended for 2025.
Labor leaders in New York applauded the announcement, with New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento saying “This is exactly the type of infrastructure investment we need to modernize travel and help boost our economy. The new Terminal 6 project will support working families by creating good union jobs and growing the middle class.”
Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, echoed this sentiment, saying that “This plan will create thousands of good, middle-class careers with benefits for New York’s tradesmen and tradeswomen and will help jumpstart the city’s economy as we continue to rebuild from the economic and public health crises.”
JFK Millennium Partners includes developers American Triple I Partners, Vantage Airport Group, and RXR Realty. Work on the terminal’s construction was originally intended to begin in 2020 after discussion had begun in 2018, but was paused after the airport’s air traffic levels fell by as much as 98% of their prior amounts.
Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton noted that recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was paramount for the new construction. “At the height of the pandemic, when JFK Airport was seeing an unthinkable two percent of its pre-Covid record-breaking passenger volumes, [state leaders] never lost sight of finding a path forward for this world-class terminal under Gov. Cuomo’s leadership.”
The pandemic had a significant impact for the state’s port authority, as it is projected to suffer a $3 billion revenue loss over the course of 24 months from March 2020 to March 2022.
“The transformation of JFK Airport into a world-class gateway is another distinct testament to New York’s comeback and to our determination to build back better,” Governor Cuomo said. “This historic private investment will not only fortify New York’s reputation as our nation’s front door to the world, but also sets an example for how this country can tackle bold infrastructure projects that will jumpstart our economy with thousands of good-paying jobs even amid profound challenges like the pandemic.”
The announcement comes at a difficult time for Cuomo, who is under pressure to resign his office — including calls to resign from numerous members of Congress and President Biden — after a state investigation found that he had sexually harassed women throughout the course of his administration. However, it doesn’t seem that this will impact the terminal plans.
Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole echoed the importance of the airport’s recovery to construction, saying that “This agreement to build a new Terminal 6 at John F. Kennedy International Airport demonstrates the commitment of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and our private partners to deliver for our region through some of the most difficult times in our agency’s 100-year history. Moving forward with a new Terminal 6 will create thousands of good-paying construction jobs critical to our recovery from the pandemic, while building the foundation of economic growth for decades to come.”
As air travel levels rise, airports nationwide are resuming construction
Though it is one of the largest current projects, the newly announced terminal at JFK International isn’t the only recently announced airport construction project, as airport construction is bolstered by air travel numbers improving.
In June 2021, Governor Cuomo announced that the state’s Port Authority had allotted $625 million towards new road and bridge construction, as part of an $8 billion modernization project for New York City’s LaGuardia Airport. The long-term overhaul, according to airport officials, is “expected to generate $10 billion in economic activity and $2.5 billion in wages over the life of the project.”
Large corporations are getting in on significant construction, as well. Jacksonville, Florida’s City Council awarded a $425,000 infrastructure grant to Boeing on July 27, 2021, in order to support the company’s $116.5 million plan to expand its maintenance, repair, and operations hangar at the city’s Cecil Airport. The company plans to spend $3 million on infrastructure improvements within the next three years as part of the project.
As per a June 2, 2021, memo from city official Kirk Wendland, Boeing representatives told the council that the eight-bay hangar will create 334 jobs at an average annual salary of $65,000.