JetBlue to build new international arrival center at JFK Airport

JetBlue Airways said today that it won approval from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to proceed with plans for a new international arrivals facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The expanded space will add 145,000 square feet over three floors at Terminal 5, which originally opened in 2008. The airline flew more than 2 million international passengers from JFK in 2011, including to Mexico, Costa Rica and six Caribbean destinations, including Barbados, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

The new facility will add dedicated gate space to allow JetBlue passengers to transfer from partner airlines that operate wide-body aircraft. A new customs and immigration facility will allow JetBlue passengers to avoid the current processing at Terminal 4.

Earlier this month, JetBlue signed an agreement with Turkish Airlines to transfer passengers at JFK. The carrier entered more comprehensive deals to coordinate fares and schedules with Dubai-based Emirates and Japan Airlines in April.

JetBlue plans to break ground on the facility this year and is scheduled to complete the extension by 2015. The 635,000 square foot Terminal 5 currently provides space for 26 gates and has a 55,000 square foot retail and concessions area. The terminal is equipped to handle 250 departures daily.

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JetBlue is also scheduled to double its capacity out of LaGuardia Airport, with several new destinations, and additional flights to existing routes.

Just last month, JetBlue moved into its new Long Island City headquarters, marking a major relocation of 900 employees from Forest Hills and 70 workers from Darien, Conn.

The deal to relocate to the 200,000 square foot facility, at 27-01 Queens Plaza North, was first announced in 2010, as JetBlue threatened to relocate its headquarters out of state. JetBlue subleased the space from MetLife, signing a new 10-year lease agreement.