Port Authority Plans to Demolish JFK’s Sundrome

By | June 15, 2010
JFK Airport - USGS 8 April 1994
Image via Wikipedia

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs JFK Airport, wants to knock down Terminal 6, also known as the Sundrome. The PANYNJ announced the move in a press release in April, noting that the demolishing of the terminal would permit planning to begin on the expansion of JetBlue‘s Terminal 5 to allow the airline to consolidate its international operations, which must currently arrive into Terminal 4.

They are also demolishing six cargo buildings and five hangars, some of which are over sixty years old and cost nearly two million dollars a year to maintain.

The Terminal opened in 1970, and was designed by famed architect I.M. Pei, who was “very unhappy” to hear of its impending demise. It consists of a departure and an arrival pavillion, connected above ground level, allowing for divided roadways to facilitate dropoff and pickup. The pavilions were connected to two cylindrical satellites for boarding and deplaning. The terminal has fourteen gates.

The original tenant was National Airlines, who occupied the building till it was sold to Pan Am in 1980. TWA picked up the lease and operated the building as an annex to its Terminal. In the 90s, they leased part of it to United for its LAX and SFO flight.

Terminal 6 Closure 2008 - From Jaunted

JetBlue was the birthplace of JetBlue, who grew to take over the entire building. T6 was partly renovated for JetBlue’s use, requiring $7.5 million of capital investment for improvements including wider roads, new ticket counters, refurbished restrooms, new baggage systems, and enhanced shops and restaurants.

It is a shame that JetBlue isn’t willing to show a little love toward its old home…perhaps connecting it to its current building. If it needs international space, we’d rather they expanded Terminal 4 and connected the buildings. We believe there was space in the original T4 design for additional extensions to the Terminal 4 concourses.

We spent many an hour in T6, but we could see how the PANYNJ would want to raze it. They preserved part of the original T5 and it has remained empty with no use. That is a lot of valuable real estate. We’d prefer adaptive reuse from T6, because it seems a shame to destroy it.