The Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved a plan for Delta Air Lines to build new state-of-the-art terminal space at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 4 replacing the antiquated space the airline now occupies in Terminal 3.

Under the plan, Delta’s international traffic will move into Terminal 4 into nine newly constructed passenger gates and up to seven of the building’s existing gates, occupying 16 of the expanded terminal’s 25 total gates.’ Delta Air Lines handles almost a quarter of JFK’s annual passenger traffic. JFKIAT, the largest private terminal operator in the country, will continue to have overall responsibility for the management and operation of the terminal.

Once the new gates are built in Terminal 4, JFK’s existing Terminal 3 will be demolished to provide 16 additional aircraft parking spaces allowing Delta and other airlines to have increased access to their equipment and help alleviate congestion on airport runways and taxiways.

‘John F. Kennedy Airport, one of the world’s busiest airports, will continue its transformation into one of the nation’s most state-of the-art airports with the approval of this plan and the construction of a new billion dollar extension to the international terminal,’ said Governor Paterson. ‘The Terminal 4 expansion will not only help increase customer service for thousands of travelers and bring much-needed renovations and upgrades to handle the demands of 21st Century air travel, but it will create hundreds of construction jobs for New York residents. I would like to thank Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward and Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson for their commitment to this project, and laying the groundwork for a new, world class terminal at JFK Airport.’

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, ‘A world-class region demands a world-class airport.’ The Board action - on top of our prior investments in runways, roadways, signage, parking, and AirTrain’ - is the agency’s latest effort to ensure that JFK is an airport for the twenty-first century.’

Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, ‘This is a game-changing deal for our customers and the entire regional aviation system.’ It increases JFK’s capacity, vastly improves the customer experience and strengthens the economic competitiveness of the most important gateway in the country.’ I want to thank Delta Air Lines, Schiphol and the Port Authority’s dedicated staff for completing a deal that has been years in the making.’

‘‘Creating jobs and contributing to the economy is the Port Authority commitment to the region.’ This project will add an additional 6,400 jobs to the more than 230,000 jobs JFK produces and will add $1.8 billion in economic activity to the more than $30 billion already generated in economic activity,’ said Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni.

‘Delta Air Lines is very pleased with the Port’s decision. ‘We’ve been making significant investments in New York for several years now, and today’s announcement enables us to begin our next critical investment, our JFK Terminal. ‘My thanks to Chris Ward and his team, Governor Paterson and Schiphol/JFKIAT for their dedicated partnership in making this happen,’ said Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson.

Under the plan approved today by the Board, Delta Air Lines will operate out of the gates in Terminal 4 under a 30-year arrangement.’ The expansion of Terminal 4 is expected to take 36 months and the subsequent demolition of Terminal 3 would begin immediately afterward, and is expected to take 24 months.

During the construction period, this project is estimated to provide direct and indirect regional benefits, including 6,400 jobs, $360 million in wages and $1.8 billion in economic activity.

The $1.2 billion project will be financed through a combination of Special Project Bonds, Passenger Facility Charges and Delta equity. Special Project Bonds are limited obligations of the Port Authority and debt service on the bonds is paid exclusively through rental terms