Cost of JFK renovation jumps to $13B

Cuomo announced more details of project

Renderings of the new JFK and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images)
Renderings of the new JFK and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images)

The cost of renovating John F. Kennedy International Airport has flown to $13 billion.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced the new estimate, up from the previously announced $10 billion, the New York Times reported. The plans include new roadways around the airport, new terminals and more amenities throughout.

Airlines have committed $10 billion to constructing the terminals and private companies have pledged another $2 billion. The price tags on large-scale infrastructure projects have a tendency to balloon over time. The estimated cost of LaGuardia’s renovation has also increased over the years.

At JFK, officials announced that four foreign carriers — Lufthansa, Air France, Japan Airlines and Korean Airlines — promised to spend $7 billion to replace Terminals 1 and 2 with one large terminal that will include 23 gates and 230,000 square feet of stores. Back in March, JetBlue Airways Corp. tapped RXR Realty and Vantage Airport Group to demolish Terminal 7 and build a new international terminal that connects to terminal 5.

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The project, however, doesn’t include a new runway, which is some say is desperately needed to accommodate the rising number of passengers at the airport. By 2035, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey expects the airport to serve 80 million passengers each year. Last year, nearly 60 million passed through the airport.

A new runway would require taking over property adjacent to the airport. Rick Cotton, the executive director of the Port Authority, said the higher volume of passengers can be handled by larger airplanes and filing the planes closer so that they can arrive and depart every hour.

“What we need are passenger facilities and roadways,” Cotton said. “We’re trying to build an airport where the passenger experience inside the terminals is vastly improved compared to what it is today at JFK. The measuring stick is other airports.”

The latest issue of The Real Deal took a look at Cuomo’s ambitious infrastructure initiatives. [NYT] — Kathryn Brenzel