New Details About The American Airlines Renovation Of New York JFK Terminal 8

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.

Jumbo Widebody Narrowbody Regional Total
Current-1 8 10 11 6 35
Current-2 10 8 10 6 34
Proposed-1 13 5 13 0 31
Proposed-2 15 3 12 0 30

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. A lot of hot air by AA in the past 2-3 years in NYC but little to no real action. Almost any growth they add ends up getting scaled down or cut completely within 1-2 years.

    I wonder with LATAM joining the DL side and DL most likely growing their Latin America service from JFK down the road what will this mean for AA’s JFK-Latin America service 3-5 years from now.

    AA’s market share in NYC outside of LAX/LHR/AA hubs keeps getting chipped away little by little by their competitors.

  2. Assuming T7 gets demolished – does B6 try to (or want to) expand T5 at all?

    Wonder if it would be possible to demolish T2/1 and then build a Star Allianced-focused terminal (a la LHR T2)…LX and others leaving T4, maybe that frees up more space for DL’s regional operation there?

    And then UA can right its wrong and return to JFK.

  3. Any mention of A380 compatible gates at JFK T8?

    Didn’t see any A380s in the artist’s rendering or see even a single mention of JFK T8 having any existing or to be added A380 compatible gates that will allow British Airways to introduce regularly scheduled service using any of its 12 A380s after co-locating at American’s T8 in 2022.

    So, the (glaring) omission of any specific reference be it in imagery or words for BA’s A380s was hard to overlook! 😉

    Of course, BA’s plan is for the by then mid-life 777-300ERs – as in the 10-15 years’ old 777s instead of the new 777-9s, assuming that already delayed by 1-year derivative/updated model is not further delayed – to replace BA’s current “Super High J” subfleet of 747-400s with all of those future “Super High J” BA 777-300ERs featuring the (so NOT) “passenger preferred” Super Narrow 17” wide, Super Hard, 10-abreast 3-4-3 Super NO LEGROOM seats packed into 31” pitch rows, too.


    Yep, for Economy Class Flyers, BA’s future featuring flights departing/arriving JFK T8 aboard BA’s BLOODY AWFUL (“densified”) 10-abreast 777s is just another notch in that airline’s race to the bottom. 🙁

    But, hey, at least those obscenely generous (borderline criminal? seeing how they were illegal for decades until Ronnie Reagan arrived) multi-billion $/£ stock buybacks will continue to be very well funded via crappier/degraded service, aboard crappier/degraded planes at crappier terminals and all at higher cost via the imposition of an ever increasing “Stock Repurchase Tax” masquerading as legitimate fees that BA long ago made clear their sole interest is forcing their passengers to show the airline’s managers the “effing” money!

    I mean, one need NOT look at the rapid imposition of fees, followed by their quick increase in nearly perfect lockstep with jaw dropping, beyond obscenely generous share repurchases (that, btw, the airline didn’t even have the cash for late last year so it instead BORROWED $1 billion to fund) at JetBlue since 2015 when Dave Barger was forced out and replaced by shills that have only one objective in mind:

    To fleece passengers as much as possible to fund share repurchases since as JetBlue’s example more that makes clear by the nifty correlation between the timing of its announcements for implementation of fees, fees and more fees combined with rapid escalations of those fees once implemented and its share repurchases (the last of which for $175 million it couldn’t afford from free cash flow so it borrowed $1 billion instead for its hurried “accelerated purchase” in November 2019) in the post-Barger era that via product degradations and an endless array of fees that in the end are little more than a bs “Share Repurchase Tax”.

    As BA’s “show us the ‘effing’ money” powerpoint slide makes clear, that’s ALL most airline managers care about anymore since one would like to think that the world’s single most lucrative route (as in the sole $1 billion route on the planet, that is) would deserve to operate at state-of-the-art terminals at both ends aboard the best, most comfortable planes in the airlines’ fleets, which for BA would be it’s Airbus A380s instead of crappy, aging 777s with their horrible tiny seats packed into no legroom rows.

    But, then again, BA/AA & Delta have conquered the JFK-LHR route and built an impenetrable fortress for their London/Heathrow – New York/JFK duopoly, so BA & AA need not concern themselves with building a state-of-the-art terminals at JFK that will also allow them to introduce regularly scheduled nonstop flights aboard any of BA’s Airbus A380s – proving yet again “Oligopolies are Great!” is said by NO ONE except Oligopolists, Oligarchs, and the nitwit sycophants that suck up to them.

  4. @UA-NYC,

    The $13 billion (no doubt the final cost will be much higher by completion later this decade) plan unveiled by our Emperor, er Governor, Cuomo in recent weeks/months is to create just three passenger terminals at JFK by:

    1.) demolishing Delta’s Terminal 2 and replacing it massive shopping mall, er ginormous passenger terminal, by COMBINING Terminal 1 with Terminal 4 currently slated to be renamed JFK South Terminal;

    2.) demolishing BA’s T7 after it moves to T8 in Fall 2022 (no doubt that ribbon cutting will be mere weeks before NY Statewide elections as Emperor Cuomo already announced his intention for a 4th term!) and replacing it with ANOTHER massive shopping mall, er ginormous passenger terminal anchored by JetBlue’s current T5 (that itself required demolition of I.M. Pei’s iconic, but alas NOT landmarked, T6, that was once called National Airlines’ “Sundrome” before TWA, United, and later JetBlue operated at JFK T6 before it was torn down to make way for JetBlue’s customs and immigration hall) that’s slated to be called “JFK North Terminal” (technically Northeast, but never mind that minor geographic inconvenience);

    3.) The (underwhelming) expansion and cheap as friggin’ possible “upgrade” at JFK T8 featuring FEWER gates than it has now; NO Airbus A380 gates; and, oh yeah, 3 or 4 outside hard-stands accessible only by bus “gates”.

    As to which “direction” AA’s current T8 will be known by, AFIK, that is TBD.

    But hey, those looking to avoid shopping malls for their terminals at JFK Airport can take solace in that at least one of JFK’s future passenger terminals will remain pretty much the same (or slightly worse) than what’s there now and they won’t have to schlepp through the two other ginormous shopping malls planned for “North” & “South” at JFK by decade’s end!

    As to United returning to JFK, that’s as more about obtaining slot pairs than finding gates and terminal facilities since they could always do as Tower Air once did and operate from a remote facility if it couldn’t find gates and counter-space at any of JFK’s existing terminals even if Delta’s T2 itself is already VASTLY underutilized!

  5. The A380 does not fit the shuttle strategy that BA/AA are employing on the JFK/LHR route. It is that simple.

  6. “…operate a shared lounge…”

    I can read this one of two ways…

    1) It will be a step down from the current BA lounge in T7.
    2) It will be an improvement over current AA lounges in T8.

    The question is which of reading this will turn out to be the correct one?

  7. @Howard Miller. I agree with you about JFK airport and “Emperor…Cuomo”. In fact, I like your post. You are very knowledgeable about all things New York/and NYC airports.

  8. @Howard Miller. On the topic of buybacks, I own Apple stock partially because Apple is active is supporting its stock price with buybacks. When the Apple stock goes down, my retirement prospects become worse (although I am diversified, so I will be ok) and when Apple stock price goes up, my prospects go up. To universalize, Apple is widely held by public pension plans, who have been underfunded by governments for years. In fact, many experts think that public pension plans may end up defaulting on their obligations (ie, no money for teachers who retired on the plan, not good) due to the underfunding problem. When stock prices go up, the underfunding problem is reduced. To bring it back to Apple, when Apple uses buybacks to support their stock price, it is good for teachers who have retired on public pensions.

    Also, I know that corporate buybacks has been a whipping boy by many economists, professors, and intellectuals for as long as I have been alive. So really, it is fully understandable that you would have the anti-buyback viewpoint. After all, I believe you read the New York Times. However, there is another viewpoint which I think is reasonable.

  9. @Howard – don’t see how you could logistically combine T4 with T1…just look at the airport layout.

    As for stock buybacks – all they do is enrich a few, in the place of actual R&D, and pump up a stock’s price in the short term. Trump’s so-called tax cut & repatriation holiday bought insane amounts back to the US…and basically all in buy-backs, little true re-investment in R&D, added hiring, etc. Has done nothing for the economy.

    No one with half a shred of intelligence would argue for them.

  10. @UA-NYC (aka Manhattan Waterbug).

    I was actually trying to convince Howard who is intelligent (although I do not agree with everything he says) to moderate his stance on buy-backs. I agree with him that leveraging up to finance buybacks is a negative. However, banning buybacks is not good policy. It should be noted that almost every company in the USA Fortune 500, does buybacks.

    But you Mr. Waterbug, are a moron, so the last paragraph does not make any sense to you. You cannot fix stupid. Wait, I forgot, Waterbugs do not actually have brains.

  11. OJS, enjoy watching your favorite “white quarterback” Patrick Mahomes play today! In your heart of hearts I know you’d really like to claim him as one of your own.

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