The Terminal 4 expansion will add 150,000 square feet of space...

The Terminal 4 expansion will add 150,000 square feet of space and is expected to create 1,500 jobs, including more than 1,000 union construction positions, state officials said. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Port Authority broke ground Wednesday on a $1.5 billion privately financed expansion and modernization of Kennedy Airport's Terminal 4.

The expansion, which will add 150,000 square feet of space to the new terminal, will be used by Delta Air Lines and is expected to create 1,500 jobs, including more than 1,000 union construction positions, state officials said.

"It's not only a big day for Delta, a big day for JFK, it's also a big day for our state," Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a news conference Wednesday at the airport. "It's a signal … to let the world know that despite some setbacks that are still with us, that we see a clear path, clear runway toward the future."

Earlier this year, the Port Authority reached a revised agreement with Delta and JFK International Air Terminal, the operator of Terminal 4, to expand the facility and to consolidate Delta's operations at the location.

The original plan, authorized by the Port Authority board last year, was revised due to the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel.

The new plan calls for improvements to the arrival and departures hall, a major concourse expansion that will add 10 new gates primarily serving regional and domestic flights, the renovation of existing concourses, and roadway upgrades to improve access for vehicles.

The updated terminal also will feature new check-in counters, the installation of new self-service kiosks and self-bag check locations, and renovations to restrooms, baggage claim and arrival areas, officials said.

"We're looking forward to delivering a world-class airport that will exceed expectations for years to come," Delta chief executive Ed Bastian said in a statement. "Our significant, ongoing investments continue to offer our customers and employees the premium travel experience they deserve at JFK."

The expansion at Terminal 4, which is being financed by private capital, is expected to be complete with Delta consolidating its operations in 2023.

On Monday, Hochul announced that the Port Authority reached an agreement with investors to build a $9.5 billion terminal that will anchor the south side of Kennedy Airport. The 2.4 million-square-foot New Terminal One will be built in phases on the sites of the Terminals 1, 2, and 3.

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