Delta Air Lines Expansion Brings New Customers & Concessions to JFK's Terminal 4

Robert Nordstrom
Published in: 


This is the second installment of a two-part series about the expansion and redevelopment of Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). It highlights the concessions and other passenger services added as Delta Air Lines assumes its new role as the terminal's anchor tenant. Click here for the article in the May/June 2013 issue for Part 1 of the series, which described infrastructure preparations for the expansion.


Project: Terminal Expansion
& Redevelopment - Phase 1

Location: John F. Kennedy Int'l Airport, Terminal 4

Key Elements: Inline baggage system; 9 new wide-body gates; consolidated security checkpoint; redeveloped post-security concessions; new baggage carousels; expanded Customs and Border Protection areas; indoor taxi stand; Terminal 3 demolition

Terminal Manager: JFK IAT

Anchor Tenant: Delta Air Lines

Cost: $1.2 billion (Phase 1)

Funding: Tax-exempt public bonds; passenger facility charges; Delta-backed New York City tax-exempt public financing; TSA grant

Architect of Record: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Delta Sky Club Architect: Corgan Associates

Design Team: SOM/ARUP JV

General Contractors: Lend Lease; TBL Construction; Turner-Scalamandre JV; Sweet Construction

Concessions: DFS North America; Hudson Group; SSP Americas

IT/Electrical: Unity Electric EJ Electric; GMA Electrical Corp.

Inline Baggage System: Vanderlande Industries

Electrical (inline baggage system):
GMA Electrical Corp.
Millwright (inline baggage system): LMC Industrial Contractors

Controls Design (inline baggage system): Brock Solutions


Security Monitoring: Diebold

Next: Phase 2 will add 11 regional jet gates & 75,000 sq. ft. to Concourse B at an anticipated cost of nearly $200 million

In late May, Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) celebrated the opening of its newly expanded and redeveloped Concourse B, including nine new and seven renovated wide-body gates for Delta Air Lines, the terminal's new anchor tenant.

Other primary elements of the $1.2 billion project include a new inline baggage system, centralized passenger security checkpoint, redeveloped post-security concessions and a new Delta Sky Club. The recently enhanced Arrivals Hall now includes a new domestic baggage retrieval area, expanded customs and border protection facilities and ground transportation. In total, 1/2 million square feet of space was added to the terminal.

With its expanded presence in Terminal 4, Delta discontinued operations in Terminal 3, which will be demolished in the future. The airline also continues operating out of Terminal 2 through its seven mainline gates and 13 outside parking positions for regional jets.

"With the nine new gates, we are able to consolidate all of our transcontinental flights and all of our international departures into one terminal," explains Henry Kuykendall, Delta Air Line's vice president of airport customer service. "Our passengers will now have a dedicated terminal to fly into and out of rather than having to go to one of three terminals."

In Phase 2 of the expansion project, Delta will add 75,000 square feet, encompassing 11 new regional jet gates adjacent to the nine new wide-body gates on Concourse B to replace its Terminal 2 hardstand operations. Phase 2 is scheduled to begin this summer and end in 2014.

"We're moving our RJ (regional jet) operations to Terminal 4, so passengers won't be on the tarmac anymore," Kuykendall reports. "We will still have seven mainline gates in Terminal 2, and after we move the RJ operations, we're planning to add three more jet bridges, which will give us a total of 10 gates at Terminal 2."

Delta Plants Flag in New York

The expansion and redevelopment of Terminal 4 is the result of agreements among the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Delta Air Lines, JFK IAT (which operates the terminal) and Schiphol USA (JFK IAT's parent company) to make Delta the anchor tenant of Terminal 4.

Throughout the past decade, Delta has invested heavily in operations throughout the New York City region. The airline is the city's fastest growing carrier and provides service to more destinations from New York than any other carrier. With the completion of the Terminal 4 project, Delta's total economic contribution to the state is expected to be more than $19 billion annually.

Terminal 4 passenger volume is projected to increase dramatically, indicates Janice Holden, JFK IAT's vice president of airline relations and corporate communications. "With Delta operating out of five gates in 2012, we moved approximately 10.6 million passengers through Terminal 4. That number will increase to around 15 million as early as 2014. This is all the result of Delta expanding its operations in Terminal 4."

The Concourse B expansion features nine new gates and 346,000 square feet of additional space as well as renovation of 122,000 square feet on seven of the concourse's existing gates.

Under the previous business model, with Terminal 4 as a common-use facility, the largest tenant typically generated 5% to 7% of overall business. Under the new model, with Delta as anchor tenant, Delta will represent as much as 60% of Terminal 4's capacity, reports JFK IAT President Alain Maca.

Post-Security Concessions

One of the most significant structural changes at Terminal 4 is the consolidation of two passenger security checkpoints at the third-floor entrances to Concourses A and B into a single, centralized checkpoint on the fourth floor.

Under the old configuration, most of the concessions were located before the security checkpoint. Now, passengers can move through the new fourth floor checkpoint, then proceed to the third floor to shop and dine without having to worry about clearing security in time to catch their flights.

DFS North America's 12,000-square-foot duty-free shops form the centerpiece of the hall. Ed Midgley, JFK IAT's vice president of concessions management, describes the change: "When you descend from the fourth floor, the first thing you see is the duty-free shops, with offerings of beauty products, alcohol and tobacco and fashion merchandise. Immediately, you sense that you're in a vibrant retail environment. Attached to the hall are the two concourses. But with that initial descent, you're through security, relaxed and in a different mindset."

DFS North America Managing Director Polly Nelson considers pre-security concessions an outmoded approach for any retailer, and downright problematic for duty-free shops.

"The principal benefit of the new configuration is additional passenger dwell time," Nelson explains. "When 'departure anxiety' fades, shopping and dining move to the forefront. We expect to pick up at least 20 to 30 minutes of additional shopping time, which we're confident will yield a nice increase in per-passenger spending."

In addition to the duty-free store in the main hall, DFS operates a full-service shop on Concourse A and three traditional retail spaces on Concourse B, including a Jo Malone fragrance store and MAC cosmetics location.

"It is a privilege to continue our long-term relationship with JFK IAT during this historic expansion," notes Nelson. "Our relationship began with modest pre-security duty-free facilities when Terminal 4 opened in May 2001, and we've been very pleased to now introduce new state-of-the-art, post-security duty-free facilities that will enable us to offer the world's leading brands to Terminal 4's existing passengers as well as all the new Delta passengers entering the terminal."

Additional retail options flank both sides of the duty-free centerpiece. Hudson Group, which has had a strong presence at Terminal 4 since 2003, increased the number of stores it operates from 10 to 14. The expanded lineup features seven new Hudson travel essentials stores, a Discover New York souvenir shop and five new specialty shops: Michael Kors, Coach, Thomas Pink, Solstice and Victoria's Secret.

The stores are scheduled to open in three phases between May and October.

Hudson Group President and CEO Joe DiDomizio is impressed with the Terminal 4 changes: "I am grateful to JFK IAT's management for having the confidence in Hudson to allow us to play a major role in this dynamic project."

SSP, which operates the food and beverage concessions at the airport, has invested $28 million into new locations, directly on the heels of approximately $16 million in renovations three years ago. While the signature restaurants opened in late May, construction of the remaining food and beverage facilities will not be complete until later this year.

SSP Executive Vice President Pat Murray chronicles some of the concession company's new food and beverage concepts on Concourse B: "(We) partnered with award-winning Chef Marcus Samuelsson to open Uptown Brasserie, serving classic American favorites in a stylish restaurant setting. And soon to follow will be another great concept with Samuelsson, Street Food, featuring an eclectic mix of food from around the world. Our new program has also debuted Shake Shack, by the renowned chef Danny Meyer, which has a cult-like following in the New York area. These are all airport firsts in the U.S."

When construction is complete at the end of the year, Terminal 4 will present travelers with 16 new and expanded food and beverage establishments. Options range the gamut from national and international brands to local and proprietary concepts.

SSP expects sales to double with the increased enplanements Delta's move into Terminal 4 will bring.

"In 2012, the last year before sales were affected by construction work, we grossed $35 million," Murray reflects. "In 2014, we project $65 million in sales. We look at this (Terminal 4) as one of the best airport development projects in the world. For us, this is as cool as it gets."

Outdoor Terrace

Terminal 4's new Delta Sky Club, located on the second floor at the entrance to the Concourse B extension, is the airline's flagship club. At 24,000 square feet, it's also the largest. In addition to a VIP room, café and full-service bar, it also includes Delta's first-ever outdoor Sky Deck.

"It's absolutely gorgeous," enthuses Kuykendall "Passengers can get outside to get some air, hear the airplanes taking off and landing. They have panoramic views of the airport and Jamaica Bay."
Jay Liese, architect and principal with Corgan Associates, agrees: "It's a lovely space with great views. It has shaded areas and large seating arrangements for conversation. It's really an extension of the club into an outdoor space."


2022 Charlotte Douglas International Airport Report of Achievement

Giving back to the community is central to what Charlotte Douglas International Airport and its operator, the City of Charlotte Aviation Department, is about, and last year was no different. 

Throughout 2022, while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued our efforts to have a positive impact on the Charlotte community. Of particular note, we spent the year sharing stories of how Connections Don't Just Happen at the Terminal - from creating homeownership and employment opportunities to supporting economic growth through small-business development and offering outreach programs to help residents understand the Airport better.

This whitepaper highlights the construction projects, initiatives, programs and events that validate Charlotte Douglas as a premier airport.

Download the whitepaper: 2022 Charlotte Douglas International Airport Report of Achievement.



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