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Pan Am's Iconic JFK Terminal Will Definitely Head to the Big Airport in the Sky

October 18, 2012 at 4:37 PM | by | ()

The length of Terminal 3 as viewed from its replacement: the extension of Terminal 4

Before moving forward, we look back a moment at the iconic Worldport (Terminal 3), former JFK Airport home of Pan Am and current roof over much of Delta's JFK operation.

Since early 2010 we've known the end was nigh. Delta plans to demolish the building after moving into their massive expansion of the neighboring Terminal 4, which will all go down in May 2013 and which we'll tell you all about tomorrow.

Rumors from 2010 speculated that the Worldport was being knocked down to make room for a parking lot. This is only partially wrong. The space will be turned into a parking lot...for Delta airplanes. Currently Delta tugs their jets to another side of JFK airport for parking, but having them just off the gates of Terminal 4 means excellent things for on-time departures.

There's no wrecking ball date set quite yet, though Delta did hint to us today that "early 2014" is a safe bet for a final sayonara to the historic Worldport structure. You've got about seven more months to enjoy it, or not—the building is all leaking roof and overcrowded gate areas. Hence the reason for Delta's bidding it a fond farewell.

Yep, that's a view over the Worldport straight to 1 World Trade Center

We recently took this video from the AirTrain as we approached Terminal 3

An old overhead shot of the Worldport

[Photos and video: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

Goodbye JFK Worldport

The old overhead pic of the Worldport is classic. Love that the image includes Concorde.

Save the Worldport

I'm surprised no mention was made of any effort or campaign to save the historic flying-saucer structure, such as our "Save the Worldport" campaign. A building this iconic and historic will certainly not go down without opposition.

We have already addressed the Port Authority regarding alternatives and adaptive re-use strategies. One such alternative involves demolishing only the 70s "Worldport" expansion but keeping the original flying-saucer as a retail area and use the freed up space behind it as the parking lot.

Or better yet, demolishing the 70s expansion, building a new, modern passenger facility behind the flying-saucer like jetBlue did with the TWA Flight Center, and then demolishing the ugly gray box Terminal 2 and put the aircraft parking there. Delta won't need Terminal 2 anyway since they shut down Comair and most of their regional jet business.

I'm sure a lot of people are looking forward to the wrecking ball, but most of those people are just irate passengers who hate dealing with Terminal 3. Once Delta moves to Terminal 4, they won't care either way.

The saucer may need a lot of repair but then again so did the TWA Flight Center. I agree JFK is a busy airport, and yes the TWA Flight Center has the Saarinen name and was already saved. But the saucer has a lot more history behind it and more potential for adaptive re-use and revenue.

Delta and the Port Authority really need to reconsider destroying this landmark. They might think it's a liability now, but they can use it to their advantage with the right planning and investment strategy.

And remember "...we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed..." -Ada Louise Huxtable