It’s liftoff for the expanded Terminal 4.
Airline officials and city leaders opened the elongated terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday. They celebrated the jobs, business and improved image the facility is expected to give the city.
The $1.2 billion expansion gives the terminal a total of 41 gates. New York-based restaurants including Shake Shack and Blue Smoke are featured in the terminal. They were already a big hit on opening day.
“It is about business, it’s about tourism,” said Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy. “It is inviting to people coming into New York, and leaving New York. It is a magnet for tourism, a magnet for business.”
Congressmember Gregory Meeks said throughout the entire development process, the community was entirely in the loop. He called Delta a community partner beyond expectations.
“What Delta has shown, and the reason why I’m very pleased to be here, is that they’re all committed to the local community,” he said. “It’s a partnership. It’s bringing people together. They have exceeded every goal to make sure the community would get jobs here, and work to help build this airline.”
Gail Grimmett, Delta’s senior vice president for New York, said Meeks showed her the communities around the airport and made sure residents were involved in the terminal’s expansion.
“He has brought me to his town halls,” she said. “He has brought me to his community boards. We have spent much time together ensuring this was not just a Delta project but a community project.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said tourism goals for the city this year were on track and credited part of that to the work of Delta. He also recognized the thousands of New Yorkers Delta employed.
“Today’s opening of Terminal Four I think says two things loud and clear,” Bloomberg said. “Delta means a lot to New York City and New York City means a lot to Delta. Delta is a real fixture in New York and it’s also one of our biggest employers.”
But expansion at Terminal 4 and JFK is not completely over, according to Delta CEO Richard Anderson.
He said the airline wants to continue being a partner with the city, and is already planning future development.
“One day we want to build a third phase of this facility,” Anderson added. The terminal is “awesome. New York is awesome. And how privileged are we to be the airline of New York City.”
Congressmember Gregory Meeks addressing the crowd
Sir Richard Branson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Congressmember Gregory Meeks
Gail Grimmett and Melva Miller
(THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen & Victoria Schneps-Yunis)