5 fun facts about JFK, the airport that never sleeps

Rodrigo Barría R.

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The biggest airport in New York has history: it has welcomed the Beatles and, in 2016, broke a world record when it served approximately 59 million passengers



Runways over green fields

Construction of what’s now the colossal JFK Airport began in April 1942, where the Idlewild Golf Course was located. Initially, it wasn’t a very ambitious project. However, when it was completed, the Idlewild terminal was five times larger than the original project. Commercial flights began in July 1948.


Millions of people in transit

In 2016, the terminal broke its own record and served approximately 59 million passengers. Of this total, almost 32 million were international travelers. What about cargo? In the same year, 1.4 million tons [1.3 hundred million kg] of freight arrived at the airport. Currently, 85 airlines operate there, offering direct flights to 165 destinations.


Red carpet

On February 7, 1964, the Beatles visited the United States for the first time. It was a grandiose event that included a press conference in the old building for international arrivals. The case of the Beatles is just an example that shows that JFK has always been the port of entry to the city for artists and government officials, especially those who have participated in General Assemblies of the United Nations.



Terminal 8, where LATAM is located, is the busiest in the airport. With capacity for roughly 13 million passengers per year, it has over 80 check-in counters, 40 self-service kiosks, and 10 security control points.


Airtrain is a good (and easy) way to travel from, to, and around the airport. It links with MTA New York City buses and several subway lines. It’s cheap, fast and operates 24/7.


Jobs and investment

JFK employs 37,000 people directly, or 294,000 people, if we consider indirect jobs associated with the terminal. It’s estimated that the airport generates approximately US$ 44 billion in economic activity, being essential to the city.