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Over the last few months we’ve seen several sneak peeks and first looks at what’s going on over at JFK Airport and Delta’s plan for the renovation at Terminal 4. From the SkyDeck to the SkyClub and everything in between the place looks like it’s going to be a hit when it debuts later this year, and that’s especially the case since what it’s replacing was so terrible—to put things lightly.
Anyway now that the bulldozers and construction crews are getting ready to pack up over in New York, it looks like they’re already getting their next assignment. Apparently Delta now has its eyes on mixing things up over at LAX, as they’re about to start spiffing things up as part of a $229 million upgrade and improvement.
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Picture this: you've just ordered a cocktail and, while a bartender shakes it up, you catch a glimpse of a tail of a Delta 747 gliding by on its way to the runway to take off for Tokyo. The sun is shining on your face as you sip your drink and watch another Delta jet gracefully lift its wings. It's almost time for your turn.
Such a relaxing scene is the stuff of frequent traveler dreams, or was, since Delta is making this a reality with the introduction of open-air Sky Decks at two of their Sky Club locations. Under construction as we type, the first-ever outdoor terraces in the Delta system will be found at New York-JFK and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson as soon as four months from now.
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There are some 60 airlines flying into and out of New York-JFK Airport. Competition is fierce, but New York's always game for a little of that. Passengers are looking for the cheapest tickets (of course), shiniest planes, most routes and newest facilities. Come next spring,
The entire project cost is in the billions, so it's no fresh paint fixer-upper or anything; every month construction workers build $26 million worth of new stuff into Terminal 4 (that's over $1 million every workday!). Why should you care? Because Delta wants you in it, loving it and flying out of it...and soon. They are on schedule and under budget (whoa) for an opening in May 2013. Arrive early for your late spring Delta flight, because this place will warrant some checking out.
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Last week we revealed Delta’s plans for JFK with mixed emotions. We were a little sad to hear about the scheduled departure of Terminal 3, aka Pan Am’s Worldport, to the big airport terminal in the sky, but we were also excited that we don’t need to use an umbrella inside the terminal—yes, it’s that bad.
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We recently took this video from the AirTrain as we approached Terminal 3
We warned you six months ago that New York-JFK Airport's old flying saucer-looking Terminal 3 could be torn down this year, and it's been officially announced that this will be the case, but it will take a tad bit longer. It will be bulldozed in about three years to make way for a parking lot, as Delta focuses their efforts next door on Terminal 4.
On one hand, the loss of Terminal 3 is something sad, since it once was a gem of architectural design and a home to the jet set as Pan Am's WorldPort. If you were heading from New York to one of Pan Am's exotic world destinations, then this place was the official start of your trip; as such, it's a building with memories for many.
It looks like San Jose and the Silicon Valley will soon be stealing business away from SFO just up the road on the 101. The totally redone Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport opens to the traveling public this week, and the new place is definitely ready to show off its technology pedigree to both visitors and locals.
The place has a futuristic design that screams cutting-edge, but the real goodies are buried within the new Terminal B and the remodeled Terminal A. There are 200-foot-long skylights along the main concourse of Terminal B, and if you want to sit down and take in the view you’ll have plenty of juice thanks to electrical outlets easily accessible from each and every seat right in the armrests. The place cost around $1.3 billion so it’s pretty clear that they spared no expense.
We doubt that the renovations to the San Jose International Airport are what finally helped Microsoft and Yahoo come together in search engine marriage, but it can’t hurt that the face of Silicon Valley is getting a little nip and tuck. Those in hardhats have been busy renovating older parts of the airports and building some totally new facilities. All this in hopes of bringing the airport squarely into the 21st century.
The first six gates in the new Terminal B Concourse opened last month and Southwest was quick to claim them as their own. There’s still plenty of work to be done here, and the whole thing won’t be completed until 2010, but at least travelers will get a sneak peak into what’s to come.
Oakland Airport's Southwest terminal during its renovation of 2006.
No surprise here but with the travel industry taking a hard hit this year, airports across the U.S. are having to put their massive renovations plans on hold or in some caese, just settle for just quickie face-lifts.
At Oakland International Airport in California, for example, a $1 billion plan to build a third terminal was shelved last summer after ExpressJet withdrew from the market, Aloha Airlines went out of business and other carriers, especially Southwest Airlines, cut back on flights. Passenger traffic fell by 30 percent, creating a ripple effect at the airport’s restaurants and car rental operations, which also generate cash. Food and beverage revenue dropped by 25 percent; car rental revenue by 20 percent.
Instead of building a new terminal, Oakland is doing a $200 million facelift of an existing terminal.
On the bright side(?), having less passengers allows the construction crews to get their work done faster. A very minor consolation to the airport indeed.
About a dozen other U.S. airports have cancelled or delayed their improvements but Kansas City International Airport is doing something different. The airport is taking advantage of the drop in construction costs to pursue its airport improvement projects which will cost about $161 million. Guess that's what happens when someone calls you a Hot Destination for 2009.
Thank God, JetBlue did their T5 overhaul before the economy crapped out!