Now it's up to Jetblue to go out and get private investors to finance the project..
"October 19, 2003
J.F.K. Project Would Reopen Famed Terminal
By COREY KILGANNON
JetBlue Airways and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have agreed on a plan for the airline to build a modern 26-gate terminal adjacent to Terminal 5 at Kennedy International Airport, the historic Trans World Airlines Flight Center designed by Eero Saarinen, officials said yesterday.
After intense discussions in recent weeks, JetBlue and the Port Authority, which operates the airport, reached a consensus and submitted their final comments to the Federal Aviation Administration last week. The agency has final approval on airport projects and is expected to make a decision within a month.
Richard J. Smyth, vice president of redevelopment at JetBlue, said all parties "feel pretty good" that the plans will be approved.
"We finally arrived at a consensus and made a formal recommendation to the F.A.A. with an approach that seems to be the best plan for everyone," he said.
If approved, the $600 million project would be a bold, ambitious move during a dismal economic time in the airline industry and would help JetBlue, the largest domestic carrier at Kennedy, greatly expand its operations there.
The deal would also revive Terminal 5, famed for its distinctive modern style but closed since October 2001 when Trans World Airlines ceased operations.
"With the building empty, it continues to deteriorate," Mr. Smyth said. "This plan saves a historic building and allows the appropriate upgrade for a modern airline, so we can grow at J.F.K."
The 41-year-old terminal is a city landmark. But after it closed, several New York preservation groups feared that it might be declared obsolete by airport officials and demolished. They began fighting for a development project that would include it as a functioning terminal, rather than a museum piece.
Frank E. Sanchis III, executive director of the Municipal Art Society, which was involved in the discussions, called the final recommendations a "happy solution."
"The plan provides a functional use for one of the most wonderful buildings ever designed to board an airplane from," he said.
Alan Hicks, a Port Authority spokesman, said the agency was working with all parties, including JetBlue and the Municipal Art Society, to make sure that Terminal 5 remained in use. "It is a magnificent work of art, and we are very proud of it," he said.
Mr. Smyth said the existing terminal would serve as an alternative entrance to the proposed terminal behind it and would have automated JetBlue ticket kiosks. The Port Authority would control the older terminal, he said, and evaluate proposals for uses, which could include a conference center, restaurants, shops and offices.
The new terminal would be connected to the existing one by its two well-known tubular passenger walkways, which were used in the 2002 film "Catch Me if You Can" as the setting of a climactic encounter between Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.
Under the current recommendations, at least one original walkway would be preserved, with the other possibly modified or rebuilt to contain a moving walkway.
JetBlue operates 80 flights per day out of Terminal 6, but wants to triple that number by 2010, which the proposed 26-gate terminal would allow the airline to do, Mr. Smyth said. JetBlue hopes to finish it by mid-2007, and to pay for much of the cost through the sale of bonds, Mr. Smyth said.
Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company"
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757