The airport is as much a famous staple of New York City as the Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. It was first known as Idlewild airport, as crews began to build it around a sporting complex named the Idlewild Golf Course.
Building of this airport, now recognized world-wide as one of the largest, began in 1942, and at that time, they thought they would only need 1,000 acres to build it. However, as aviation grew, so did Idlewild, and with time, 4,000 more acres have been added.
July 1, 1948 was the date the airport saw its first commercial flight. It was dedicated as New York International Airport on July 31 of that same year.
In 1975, an Eastern Airlines Boeing 727 crashed there, leaving 112 passengers and crew . Also, during the 1990s, some planes that took off there suffered tragedies, including TWA 800[?] to Paris. In November 12, 2001, an American Airlines Airbus A300 plane that had taken off from JFK en route to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, crashed nearby while trying to make an emergency return to the airport, and all passengers died.
The airport has served as major hub for such airlines as Pan Am, TWA, United Airlines, Eastern Airlines, Flying Tigers[?], Delta, and American Airlines. In 2000, Jet Blue[?] began its services using JFK as a base, and it has rapidly grown through 2002.
Four runways in two parallel pairs surround the central terminal area. Runway 13R-31L is the longest commercial runway in North America, at a length of 14,572'.
The Concorde SST, operated by Air France and British Airways, has provided scheduled trans-Atlantic supersonic service to JFK since 1977. JFK has the most SST operations annually of any airport in the world.
The 1948 Temporary Terminal was the sole terminal until construction of the 1957 International Arrivals Building, which was itself replaced by the $1.4B Terminal 4 in 2001. Eight other "Unit Terminals" were constructed 1958-1971. Replacements for some of the original terminals have been completed or are under development. There are also numerous large facilities for air cargo handling and loading.
JetBlue[?] uses JFK as a hub, since JFK is the least crowded of the three local NYC Airports. JFK is busy during the late afternoon intercontinental rush.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy International Airport has 8 Terminals