JFK Airport’s New Terminal 8 Won’t Be Anything To Look Forward To

Filed Under: American, British Airways

In February 2019 it was announced that British Airways would be moving from Terminal 7 to Terminal 8 at JFK in 2022, allowing them to co-locate with their transatlantic joint venture partner, American Airlines. Well, construction on that project has now formally started.

What we should expect from Terminal 8 changes

Terminal 8 will be redesigned in a project that will cost $344 million. With these changes, we can expect an additional roughly 70,000 square feet to be added to Terminal 8. They’re adding capacity for nine more wide body aircraft, which is significant.

New York to London is one of the most important aviation markets in the world, and American and British Airways have a joint venture. These changes will allow the two airlines to operate their 14 daily flights between the two cities out of the same terminal. It will also make connections more seamless between the two airlines.

With the terminal reconstruction we can expect better baggage systems, new lounges, premium check-in space, and upgraded concessions and retail options.


Rendering of new JFK Terminal 8

This all sounds like good news, though unfortunately I wouldn’t get excited…

Why this is bad news

Nine more international gates sounds impressive, though how is that being made possible? Terminal 8 will be getting:

  • Five actual gates, some of which will have really, really long jet bridges (see the rendering below)
  • Four hard stands, meaning passengers will be driven to planes on buses (update: American tells me that this will be used to park planes, but American won’t actually board or deplane flights from these stands)

The only other US airport that I can think of that consistently has remote stands for wide body planes is LAX, and that’s a temporary measure as they work on rebuilding the airport, and not a permanent solution. It’s crazy to think that part of JFK’s plan to become a “world class” airport long term involves boarding wide body planes on hard stands.

Rendering of new JFK Terminal 8

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 70,000 square feet is the size of two very big airline lounges. That hardly accounts for the huge increase in traffic we’ll see in the terminal. You can expect the lounges to be really crowded.

The timing is also strange, because British Airways has just wrapped up a $65 million investment in Terminal 7, including completely refreshing their lounges. And now they’ll be moving in a couple of years…

New British Airways First Lounge JFK

What happens to Terminal 7?

Terminal 8 construction is part of bigger changes coming to the airport, as terminals are reshuffled. Terminal 7 will cease to exist in its current form, and part of it will eventually join JetBlue’s Terminal 5.

We don’t yet know where other airlines currently using Terminal 7 will move to.

Bottom line

In fairness, currently Terminal 8 is underutilized, as American has significantly reduced capacity to JFK in recent years. In many ways that has made flying out of Terminal 8 a joy, as it has largely been eerily quiet. I don’t think I’ve ever waited more than five minutes at security.

Now we’re going to see exactly the opposite, at least when departing in the afternoons, as the terminal and lounges are going to be packed.

The fact that remote stands are part of a permanent plan for a brand new “world class” airport is just sad as well.

What do you make of British Airways’ JFK move?

Comments
  1. JFK Airport technically does have some remote stand gates out of Terminal 4. Not many airlines use them (I can’t think of any at the moment), although I know that Thomas Cook often would use them when they served JFK.

  2. five additional T8 gates is quite sufficient for T8 to handle BA’s additional 8 daily flights to London. why are you hung up on the hard stands?

  3. JFK T8 is a total joy to experience. Mega airport with direct access to Manhattan via LIRR….. always a 1 min wait time at security point…. great AA lounge.
    I roll my eyes as all good things always seem to come to an end. Hopefully, these changes will take a year to go in effect (affect?).
    I wondered why 80% of the gates seemed empty. Now, I know.

  4. LHR has plenty of stand gates… I’ve flown through there on BA four times in 2019 and three of my four times on the JFK-LHR or LHR-JFK leg was at a remote stand.

  5. Going through Terminal 8 during the day is like being in a post apocalyptic movie. The place is totally empty – and how many billions did the Port Authority pay to build it? You can also be assured that Latam will soon be moving to the Delta Terminal, and CX is reducing frequencies (hopefully temporarily) that will eliminate a lot of nighttime action.

  6. #GoingForGreat
    #ToFlyToServe
    #ItsTheWayWeMakeYouFeel
    #UpgradeToBritishAirways
    #TheWorldsFavorite
    #WellTakeGoodCareOfYou
    #DoingWhatWeDoBest

    #EPICFAIL

    By the time this expansion is open it will already be outdated (and under-sized) as reported by you. Just take a look at Doha-Hamad International airport and their expansion plans, HKG airport, Singapore-Changi or the new Seoul-Incheon T2.

  7. My thought exactly. The plan for consolidation is hardstands? Makes no sense. T8 had original plans that included a full additional concourse. You’d think that would be a better alternative.

  8. Let me get out the world’s smallest violin.

    This is so not something worth complaining about. The benefits of having AA and BA in the same terminal so far outweigh a few flights boarding via a bus.

    And you really complaining about jet bridges being long?

  9. Having just visited the BA business lounge at T7, I would have guessed that it hadn’t been renovated in a decade. Nothing about the place left me with an impression that British Airways cared about it. (Admittedly I was there as a LOT business class passenger, so I didn’t see the first class side, but the business side was pretty depressing; the only thing it had going for it was a shower with weak water pressure and tepid hot water.

  10. Nothing about new lounges? BA is going to totally cede control of its lounge experience at its most important outstation to AA? That I find surprising.

    I assume, though, that BA F pax will have access to Flagship Dining.

  11. From the rendering the walkways are not so long. Terminal 5 at LHR has amongst the longest ones in the world

    The new midfield concourse at LAX will open later this year with 12 new gates and eventually 8 more. I hope that will mean the end of the remote western stands

    Back to JFK T8 looks half built b wavy the plan to extend the eastern potion. You can see from the rendering that’s possible.

  12. Hard stands & long PLBs? I’ve been hard-standed at many airport throughout the world; more of those time were at LHR & FRA.

  13. It will be interesting to see where AS winds up. They recently remodeled the old United Club with their new design as well.

  14. Let the speculation begin on other airlines currently at T7:
    AR – T1? T4?
    AS – NOT T2/T4/T5
    NH – T1 seems most likely
    EW – T1 to go with LH/SN or maybe T4 with LX?
    IB – as ‘m’ stated, T8 seems the most logical
    FI – T5 due to mileage-earning relationship with B6? The T5/7 expansion will help.
    LO – T1 (M&M links)?
    DY – T5 given the recent tie-up with B6? The T5/7 expansion will help.
    PS – T1?

    *none of the above is based on any actual announcements from any of the above-mentioned airlines or the airport.

  15. Nothing summarises Discount Doug better than their own Twitter team’s ‘mistake’ of ‘$ 344’ investment in JFK – sounds about right for Douggie.

  16. Dear Lucky aka Deltas paid endorser,

    1-There is NO negative to this news

    2-Terminal 8 has always been underutilized… there’s plenty of room

    3-AA has NOT “significantly” decreased their traffic …..only marginally- once again, it’s always been underused

    4- This BLOWS AWAY what your favorite airline offers at JFK .. (a split operation between two sub par terminals)

    Good day sir 🙂

  17. Just what we need, more obstacles to overcome – lines at security, lines at immigration, packed lounges, not really a fun time if you ask me.

  18. Is the assumption that BA will not build any dedicated lounge space as part of this move? If that is the case, then yes, the existing Flagship Lounge/FF Dining will be swamped.

  19. Way more than enough. JFK has been reduced by AA and Terminal 8 is sometimes a ghost town. How can you say this is not something to look forward to. If you are connecting this eliminates a terrible transfer. Shocking as a travel pro you do not see how this is very good.

  20. The 5 added widebody gates seem to be only 2 actual new gates (on the short pier by gates 14/16). I think the plan was to convert/consolidate some of the regional gates at the end of the satellite pier for widebody use (and it looks like larger aircraft are parked in that area in the rendering). Assuming Latam moves out this should be more than sufficient for BA/IB. There’s also unused space (currently offices I believe) on the other side of the Flagship Bridge (above gates 14/16) which can be converted for additional lounge space without adding square footage to the building itself.

  21. If LHR is the premium market from JFK, AA/BA would be wise to guarantee that London flights will all depart from gates close to the Flagship Lounge with no bus gates.

  22. Not to mention there still won’t be any dedicated CX lounge. I have heard they wanted to build one if AA decided to build their new concourse.

  23. The simple reason why there are plans for hardstands at T8 is because it is far from clear that AA will be using the gates it currently has for its own operations. AA desperately needs additional business in its terminal to help pay for it but AA most certainly is smaller at JFK than it was last year even before the MAX was grounded and also before runway construction.
    AA simply is not using the slots it has at JFK and has come up with every excuse to not pull the schedules down after scheduling flights.

    Given how much demand there is for gates at JFK, it is no surprise that AA came up with a voluntary plan to better use its own gates. Given that United desperately wants to return to JFK, AA is not in a position to not only be not using its slots but also to be leaving its terminal virtually unused for hours every day.

    oh, and during the time that AA cut back its flights at JFK due to construction, B6 and DL added flights. And on-time was better in July and August of 2019 than it was for July and August of 2018.

  24. Its amazing to me with all the capital investment committed to rebuilding JFK, that they aren’t building out T8 to its full original design. This is the perfect opportunity to do so.

  25. Lucky – how does this make any sense? AA is retreating in such a huge way at JFK that most of T8 is empty throughout the day. They operate, what… 3 daily Europe non-stops now? Why do they need more gates to accom BA, let alone remote stands?!

  26. BA was required to invest in the terminal (not just the lounges but public areas and mechanical systems) as part of it’s (new) lease with the Port Autority in around 2015/16 knowing full well that a terminal move would be required on 2022 (but more likely later)

    I don’t think you’d find it acceptable to leave the lounges and other public areas unrefurbished. 5-7 years is a long time.

  27. “In many ways that has made flying out of Terminal 8 a joy, as it has largely been eerily quiet. I don’t think I’ve ever waited more than five minutes at security.”

    Terminal 8 is where I have my most regular experience with TSA. I have never waited less than fifteen minutes and it has always been a dehumanising experience. I travelled through a couple of months ago with a wheelchair-bound colleague: it was an order of magnitude worse for him.

    On single visits to Terminal 7 and whichever Virgin uses I haven’t noticed anything significantly better in the security line, but if you are holding up Terminal 8 as an exemplar, I’ll start flying to Philadelphia on a Saturday and driving up to NY.

  28. T7 reminds me of a block of public toilets by a beach it is so awful. Even the refurbished BA lounge was in the bottom 20% of lounges I visited around the globe this past year (granted I was flying on IB J class so didn’t have access to the full Club World dining), and I visited some bleak lounges. Anything at T8 will be a step up!

    I also agree about remote stands. I’ve been at a depressing number of them around the world in the past 24 months. There’s nothing like flying a premium cabin and having to get on a big bus with almost no seats for 5 – 10 mins prior to or after your flight. The only airline I’ve flown that got this right was Vietnam Airlines, which had a small all-seater premium bus for the J cabin.

  29. Such a joke. I remember looking at a model of the original Pre-9/11 plans for T8 in the entry of the pre-renovation T8 Admirals Club (back when there was also a T9). The original intention was for the first concourse to extend further to the right. This was evidenced by directional signs for additional gates that weren’t yet built when the building opened. Of course it also included a whole regional jet concourse that never saw the light of day.

  30. PS: the interior renderings are perhaps the ugliest I have ever seen. We’re they trying to use every color in the rainbow? Looks like NASCAR. I really don’t even understand what this warrants a press release.

  31. It’s better than terminal 4. Lucky you make it sound like most depressing experience.

    A long jet bridge? How about such a long pier at terminal 4 to walk?

    When you nitpick like this you lose all credibility as you can’t be seen as fair and balanced in your commentary. It is clear you despise the airline to its highest.

  32. I recently flew JFK-LHR on BA in business (747) and was shocked that we arrived at a remote stand at Heathrow. For their crown jewel route?! And then my connecting flight to FRA, what I would assume is one of the more important European routes, was also at a remote stand. Good grief, BA.

    Regarding co-locating at JFK, my question is why? Are there really people flying into JFK on BA who are connecting? To where? AA has so few flights domestically out of JFK these days. Plus BA flies nonstop to over 20 cities in the US. Further, if you wanted to connect to a smaller market in the US, wouldn’t PHL, ORD, CLT, or DFW be better options?

  33. T5 at JFK only has 4 wide body gates and gate 30 being the only international one that is designed for 757, 767 and A330 aircrafts.
    When Aer lingus have the Dublin and Shannon flight gates 12 and 10 can’t be used. To add more airlines on the international side at the moment will be a nightmare. Besides one of the biggest complaint by TAP Portugal business travelers is the lack of a lounge. Aer Lingus have their own lounge which is under utilized after 8pm however they refused to allow TAP to use it even though TAP flight leaves after 11pm.

  34. The renderings are horrible. The whole thing looks cheap, cheap, cheap. Clearly AA had the decisive word here.

  35. I can’t wrap my head around the cost of $38 million PER GATE. Even with all the associated infrastructure like baggage handling and maybe – but probably not – additional security lines, how on earth does it cost as much to build a single crappy airport gate as it costs to build 40 luxury apartments in a prime real estate market?

  36. Can someone authoritatively quantify how many domestic departures AA has at JFK vs. say five years ago? @Scott makes some good points. The JFK-LHR route likely has a higher percentage of point to point traffic than in the past. BA has proven adept at sussing out thin routes to the U.S. and making them a success.

  37. AA is changing JFK from any type of transfer hub to a “local market” hub. AA is making buckets of money in PHL and is expanding it into their main northeast hub. AA won’t be growing in any way that requires more room in JFK. AA will always be there, but connecting hub status will be replaced.

  38. This is a dumb, misinformed article. Terminal 8 is already the largest at JFK and has plenty (even too much space). As a frequent flyer through it, I only lament the eventual extra traffic through what is currently a relatively pleasant customs and immigration facility that services the terminal presently. Terminal 7 is slated to be torn down and a new terminal will replace it. Yes, BA spent millions refurbishing it, but 7 is outdated and too small for the traffic it handles. Terminal 8 will essentially be the oneworld terminal at JFK, with IB and BA joining CX, QF, Finnair, Royal Jordanian all of whom already fly out of it. In terms of passenger experience, T8 is a joy to fly out of at JFK when compared to T1, T2, T4, and T7. It just wasn’t built out completely to its original spec.

  39. Is it just me or are they actively trying to become the east ramp for LaGuardia? That level of “We totally didn’t think this through but who cares? We’re New frickin’ York!” is what I associate with the Dantean hell that is LGA.

  40. T8 looks like a person with an arm chopped off. The landside terminal looks 60% complete. They should just lengthen one concourse and seal part of it off, like was done at PIT.

    If it is so empty, AA should not have kicked out AS.

  41. @Robert J Fahr.
    American and its regional partners have scheduled an average of 73 flights/day at JFK in the first quarter of 2020.
    In the first quarter of 2015, American and USAirways and their regional partners scheduled an average of 93 flights/day in the first quarter of 2015.

  42. Complain, complain, complain. Every terminal at JFK should be modelled after T8. Spacious, airy, clean and comfortable. Flagship lounge and Admirals Club best in US Industry. Adequate retail and eating choices. BA will add 10 departures/arrivals per day. T8 can more than handle it especially after the exit of Latam.
    BTW- Heathrow airport authority dictates which arrivals/departures will use hard stands or gates and changes daily.
    Although a minor inconvenience, the T8 satellite will be so close to the terminal that it will not be that big of a deal.
    Get a life Un-Lucky. I fly a lot more than you do, fly the trips that work best for me and take the good and the bad in stride. If flying AA is so bad for you, don’t give them your business and shut up.

  43. Derek-
    Stop spouting things you obviously don’t know.
    AA did not “kick out” AS.
    They left on own accord after their lease expired and they merged with Virgin.

  44. More incorrect information from your readers.
    Fat Check:
    AA operates 115 flights per day from JFK not 73.
    AA did not “kick out” AS from T8. AS chose to leave at the end of their last lease agreement.

  45. John,

    Amen! The blogger would want to imply that there is not one, not even one positive aspect of terminal 8. Based on his bias one would think that it is the worst terminal at the airport. “Won’t be anything to look forward to.” “Terrible news”

    Thirty two gates is plenty. Way more than they have in LAX with 225 flights a day.The hard stands would most likely be used to park planes on very long layover. Did the blogger even research that possibility? Don’t know why the blogger is getting all worked up about.

  46. I wonder what they mean by premium lounges. I’m going to assume they will need to build a Concorde Room. Would be great if they also added back a space for an Admirals in Concourse B.

  47. Remember, T8 has also lost two to three AB flights in the afternoon, when they went bust … just another argument showing they have some capacity.

  48. Important to remember the functions of hardstands/remote stands. I believe that the investment at T8 will allow for Int’l arrivals with jet bridge convenience followed by push back from those gates to a very convenient hard stand for aircraft servicing, cleaning/catering/baggage loading / perhaps even crew enplanement , fueling and other tech services while not occupying the boarding gate for hours. That same aircraft will then be easily towed to the boarding gate 1 hour prior to departure for passenger boarding . seems like a good plan to me as I have seems BA 747-400 staged around the JFK T6 footprint awaiting same.

  49. @Lucky: Four hard stands, meaning passengers will be driven to planes on buses

    I admit not knowing the term “hard stands.” Like my usual complaint at Suvarnabhumi: you board a bus, drive past 50 empty gates at the main terminal, and end up at middle of tarmac to board your flight.

  50. @John Petrsmith
    The schedule data I provided is directly from AA’s published schedules for the first quarter of 2020 which they are operating right now.
    AA has consistently published medium-term schedules (4-6 months) at JFK far in excess of what it is even currently flying, only to cut their schedules within 2 months, undoubtedly as part of their efforts to establish the impact of the MAX as part of Boeing’s compensation.
    Regardless of why they are doing it, their current schedules do in fact show a much smaller AA operation at JFK than you would like to admit.
    American Airlines is the only airline in metro NYC that is smaller today than it was immediately after the USAirways merger – and the slot swap with Delta happened long before the merger.

    If you doubt it, you need only check DOT or PANYNJ data which absolutely shows that AA has consistently been operating far less than 100 flights/day at JFK for a number of months.

    And the point regarding the T8 expansion is that AA still has far more space at JFK than it needs for the number of flights it is operating. Even if it uses the majority of its gates, it doesn’t do so at a level that uses the terminal at economically viable levels.

    AA made the decision to have partner airlines use its terminal to improve the economics of T8 and because JFK is still significantly short of gate capacity while AA has plenty of space available.

    As for the pad gates, I still am not sure we will see BA or anyone else actually using widebody remote gates but they apparently will be there if there is a desire to do so.

  51. @joe: 4- This BLOWS AWAY what your favorite airline offers at JFK .. (a split operation between two sub par terminals)

    In Lucky language there is no favorite (singular). It’s always “….one of my favourite.”

  52. We’ll just have to hope that there is a longer term strategy in place. To be honest though I’m happy if BA flights depart from proper gates, I never fly AA long haul so I don’t care what happens there.

  53. Im confused. They say they won’t use the hard stands for anything but parking planes, and there are plenty of gates for combined traffic. So why are you against hard stands when they won’t happen for passengers? Or are you saying they are lying?

  54. The “NEW AA” mgmt mostly from the UsAir side have no clue as to how they’re destroying JFK. It’s disgusting!!! The New York operation has been gutted to favor Philadelphia . Who the hell in Europe says let’s visit Philadelphia and see that bell with a crack in it and the rocky statue? NOBODY!!! T8 at JFK should be finished properly like the original plans and get back to being the world class carrier they once were. Right now they’re not even close! If Crandall can’t come back I suggest you headhunt the hell out of Scott Kirby and make him CEO of the new AA and let home right this sinking ship!!!

  55. If they could get rid of the awfully obnoxious BA staff there in JFK as part of the new start, that’d be great. I once almost got refused boarding for having the nerve to ask if they had a window seat… We ended up with getting a supervisor who didn’t listen to me but just started screaming that I should follow the direction of her super competent minion. That was also the last time I flew BA long haul, it was a disgusting and upsetting experience.

    Otherwise, Americans are so spoiled for whining about remote stands! I’ve experienced tarmac services in almost all of the 500+ airports I visited. If you started whining about having to change terminals when changing aircraft, you’d get my sympathy. JFK is basically not one airport, but a bunch of small airports using shared tarmac services.

    @Jeff: No, I’m worse! I once decided: hey, let’s not see Chicago but let’s fly onward to Burlington, Iowa, as it sounds like a nice town on the American countryside! Much to my surprise, the owner of the B&B told me that she had opened up the whole house just for me, as I was the only visitor in the whole month.

  56. In America, “hard stands” are used to park the planes. The air train system is used to get passengers from one terminal to the other- not buses.

  57. Seriously, this could really help AA become more competitive in New York. Look at it, they will dominate the NYC-LON market. With 14 departures to LHR as well as Club World LCY, they could really beef up American Eagle flights to PIT, BWI, DCA, RIC, CMH, etc. and use JFK as a feeder. Aside from that, they should probably put in an additional BA Lounge instead of expanding the Flagship lounge. Perhaps they could even do a dedicated NY-London lounge and have people flying transcon or to Europe/South America use the current flagship lounge.

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