Deal reached on new $3.9bn Terminal 6 at JFK

Beleaguered New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday announced that a new deal had been reached with a private consortium to build a $3.9bn Terminal 6 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) after Covid scuppered an earlier deal.

Cuomo is facing calls to resign, including from President Joe Biden, a fellow Democrat, after an independent investigation appointed by the New York Attorney General concluded yesterday that he sexually harassed multiple women including former and current state employees. 

The deal is between JFK’s owner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and consortium JFK Millennium Partners (JMP) comprising JetBlue Airways, the operator of of Terminal 5 and JFK’s the largest carrier; Vantage Airport Group, an investor, developer and manager of airport projects; American Triple I (ATI), a minority- and women-owned developer and manager of infrastructure assets; and RXR Realty, a New York-based real estate developer.

Under the orifinal deal, the project was supposed to break ground in 2020, but was abandoned after Covid-19 caused air traffic levels to plunge by as much as 98%. Passenger volumes are still 25-30% down on pre-pandemic levels, the governor’s office said.

Subject to approval by its board this week, the Port Authority will sign a lease agreement with JMP for the construction of the 1.2-million-square-foot new terminal, with JMP providing most of the finance.

The Port Authority will spend a previously allocated $130m on enabling infrastructure for the project.

The new T6 will be built on the sites of the old T6, demolished in 2011, and the ageing Terminal 7, which will be torn down after British Airways moves to Terminal 8.

The new terminal will connect to Terminal 5 and have 10 gates. Construction is scheduled to start in mid-2022 and to open in 2025. Some 4,000 direct jobs will be created by the project, according to the governor’s office.

The new deal with JMP includes a 10-year emergency extension of the master lease for JFK Airport granted by the City of New York; the lease had been set to expire in 2050.

"At the height of the pandemic, when JFK Airport was seeing an unthinkable two percent of its pre-Covid record-breaking passenger volumes, we never lost sight of finding a path forward for this world-class terminal under Gov. Cuomo’s leadership," Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said.

Image: A JetBlue Airways Airbus taxis at JFK Airport in December 2019 (Adam Moreira/AEMoreira042281/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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