One of the largest and most interesting airports has to be John F. Kennedy International Airport and I’ll tell you why. It’s of course located in the Queens borough of New York City, home to individuals such as 50 Cent, Donald Trump, and my personal favorite, Martin Scorcese. As if that weren’t enough, the airport also serves approximately 62 million passengers annually, employs 280,000 people, and earns over $51 billion in revenue.
Top 5 Facts:
1. Origin Story
JFK was originally constructed to alleviate traffic congestion at LaGuardia Airport and since 1947, the busiest international airport is owned by the City of New York and managed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey under a long-term operating lease. It was known as Idlewild Airport until 1963 when it was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport in honor of America’s 35th President.
2. Batter Up
There’s a hidden softball field directly south of Federal Circle, near Cargo Area A, and only a short distance from JFK Airport Cell Phone Lot. The field is only open to a select league of airline and airport service company personnel. Unfortunately, it’s not available to the general public, so you’ll have to put your glove back. Legend has it, this is the same field where New York Yankees Hall of Famer, Mickey Mantle, hit his 1300th home run when the airport was Idlewild, according to one member on the NYC Aviation forum.
3. Presidential Experience
Have you ever wondered how the US President travels to the Big Apple? It’s super top secret and the public is restricted from entering this area of the airport. The runway serves as the takeoff and landing runway for Air Force One and is located in a section that is solely accessible to the military. To be honest, sometimes I’ll even order a black car ride to JFK just so I can feel like I have my own personal Secret Service.
4. Space Travel
As a Star Wars fanatic, the chances of seeing an actual space traveler gives me one more reason to fly through JFK. The airport has a contract with NASA and can approve clearance to land actual space shuttles on its longest runway. It’s called The Bay Runway (31L), it’s the 2nd longest runway in the US, and it’s used as a backup landing site. The main runway for NASA surprisingly is only about 1.5 football fields longer than Bay Runway.
5. Pet Friendly
Privately operated, the 24-hour and $65 million pet terminal sits on 14.5 acres of land, one of the biggest plots at the airport. Approximately 88,000 square feet, the terminal is shared by Air France, Alitalia, and KLM and is located in Cargo Building 78 in Area D. It’s no accident that the terminal name is Pet Oasis, however, if your furry pal was thinking about smuggling back some wine from Italy they can forget about that. The Pet Oasis is under the jurisdiction of U.S. Customs and the customs process is quite similar to humans. If you really feel like spoiling your little friend, there are actually some black car services that will allow pets in their vehicles.
American Airlines and British Airways are currently collaborating on a $400 million remodeling project of Terminal 8 expected to finish later this year (Dec. 1). You’ll be able to enjoy several champagne and wine bars, fine dining or buffet restaurants, a fireside lounge, and even a library. The five additional widebody gates, an improved baggage processing system, and about 130,000 square feet of the refurbished terminal area should create more space for planes and improve onboarding times.