The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has selected a team, led by the U.K.-based Mott MacDonald, to perform preliminary engineering and design work for the $10 billion redevelopment of John F. Kennedy International Airport, in New York City.
The group was chosen following a competitive request for proposals from master planners launched in July. Work will include connecting terminals; redesigning airport roads and parking; adding amenities like fine dining, luxury retail and conference and meeting space; and incorporating new security and other improvements to meet growing demand.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the project could generate up to $7 billion in private investment.
Airports around the country are striking deals with the private sector to replace their aging terminals with modern facilities that can handle increasing capacity. Those efforts are paying off in higher customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power's 2017 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. Orlando (FL) International Airport ranked first in the study, followed by Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, McCarran International Airport, in Las Vegas, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Airports are using technology like charging stations, Internet access and apps to improve the travel experience, and some offer offbeat amenities for stressed out customers like access to therapy animals. Some of the airports underway with the biggest renovations, however, are struggling to make passengers comfortable in the midst of all that activity, the survey found.
The Federal Aviation Administration has its role in airport upgrades as well. U.S. airports can qualify for Airport Improvement Project (AIP) grants to fund basic work like runway and taxiway upgrades, as well as new signage and lighting. The agency has disbursed $3.3 billion in AIP financing so far this year out of a $3.35 billion annual budget, which is not adequate to meet all airport renovation and repair needs.
U.S. airports face an estimated $100 billion shortfall in funds needed to upgrade their facilities over the course of the next five years, according to a March report from the Airports Council International – North America. That's more than double the amount airports generate through user fees and other revenue. Airport advocates have been pushing for an increase in the passenger facility charge, now capped at $4.50, in order to fund the work.