Nearly 50 years has passed since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and this year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the renaming of JFK Airport, as well as the 50 millionth passenger traveling through the international hub.
Russo’s On The Bay, located at 162-45 Cross Bay Boulevard, will host a luncheon on Tuesday, September 10 to commemorate all three occasions. Additionally, a commemorative journal will be published to memorialize the occasion, featuring guest speaker David Neeleman, CEO of Azul Airlines and co-founder of JetBlue.
Neeleman is additionally credited with building five airlines and will return to JFK to speak about his experiences.
And Jack Kennedy Schlossberg, grandson of JFK, will be a featured speaker.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was fatally shot on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas during a presidential motorcade. A 10-month investigation concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger and assassinated the nation’s 35th president.
Just over a month after the incident on December 24, the borough’s Idlewild Aiport, named after the Idlewild golf course it displaced, was rebranded as the John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“When we talk about the notoriety of the airport, it’s important that we identify it’s been 50 years since it was renamed after JFK,” said Bob Caton, president of the JFK Chamber of Commerce.
Built in 1942, the airport was initially supposed to be 1,000 acres to relieve the overcrowded LaGuardia Airport, but by completion, it had grown to five times that size.
In 2012, JFK International took in 49,292,733 passengers, making it the 13th busiest airport in the world and the sixth busiest in the country. This year, JFK officials expect 50 million passengers to travel through their gates.
“Airports are not really seen as a vessel for commerce, but JFK is a vehicle that allows that to happen,” said Caton, who noted that the 50 millionth passenger is a “big event” for the airport.
“We’re very happy to have both 50/50 events happen this year,” he said.
As for the next 50 years — and beyond, Caton said, “as we move forward we want to show people we will be fresh and look toward the future.”