I read through the 112 page Department of Transportation approval for renovations at New York JFK terminal 8, which will facilitate the British Airways co-location with American, and learned several interesting things about the project.
American and British Airways had discussed co-location at JFK in 2010, when airlines were moving at the airport as a result of of the terminal 3 and terminal 4 refurbishments. American’s bankruptcy and the British Airways lease on terminal 7 got in the way of progress at the time. The project puts all but one oneworld carrier under the terminal 8 roof – JAL, though a joint venture partner with American, has chosen to remain at terminal 1.
New York JFK terminal 8 was designed for 57 gates, but only 36 were built. This project involves creating two new gates to accommodate large aircraft and three new hardstands on the east side of the terminal, and reconfiguring six existing gates on the C concourse, eliminate two narrowbody gates and the 31/32 regional gates to create 3 widebody gates.
Overall there will be a net reduction in gates in American’s terminal 8 as a result of the project.
In addition there will be no more regional gates.
New York JFK Terminal 8
There won’t be a separate British Airways lounge. But there will be a dedicated path straight through security to the lounge. This will be the first joint American-British Airways lounge.
The Proposed Action would refurbish existing space to create a new joint AA-BA lounge within the existing interior spaces, by relocating and condensing AA’s internal operational office and converting the space to the lounge. The Proposed Action would also expand the premium check-in space and include a 3,700 square foot building expansion to accommodate an escalator to the east side of the building to create an exclusive access for premium passengers.
When American sought approval for the project they indicated they would be fully utilizing their slots. That isn’t the case currently, with about 76 daily departures out of the 108 their slots will support. Of course they blame this on the grounding of the 737 MAX.
Beginning November 21, 2019, AA will operate 108 departures a day, including 13 international departures and 95 domestic departures, to 37 different city destinations.
New York JFK Terminal 8
American’s lease on the terminal runs through December 31, 2036.
The most significant new information I gleaned from the document is that American and British Airways will operate a shared lounge and that there will be a dedicated premium passenger path directly to the lounge. I don’t think I had realized though that the total number of gates in the terminal would actually decrease with this work to accommodate more widebodies.