Gensler’s design for the JetBlue terminal at JFK responds equally to the complex realities of post 9/11 air travel, JetBlue’s brand identity, and its proximity to the iconic Eero Saarinen-designed TWA terminal. The result is a trim, efficient, high capacity terminal designed to improve the flying experience for JetBlue’s passengers. The terminal is JFK’s busiest, handling more than 30 percent of the airport’s traffic. Accordingly, Gensler designed it to accommodate a colossal 20 million passengers a year and 10 flights per gate every day. It is an efficient and functional design that is simple for passengers to navigate. Close collaboration between Gensler, Arup, and JetBlue ensures airplanes, passengers, and their luggage can move in and out of Terminal 5 with ease.
One of the first U.S. terminals to be fully designed and built post 9/11, the JetBlue terminal is designed for the way people travel today. Security, typically the most stressful and time-consuming part of the airport experience, is easy to locate and navigate. The 20-lane central checkpoint features soft rubber flooring and a 225-foot long bench for organizing belongings and putting on shoes, which also eliminates bottlenecks created by passengers struggling with their belongings at the end of the checkpoint.
Once through security, the focus shifts from speed, ease, and efficiency to comfort, entertainment, and options – reflective of the fact that today, the bulk of passengers’ time is spent on the ‘other side’ of security waiting to board. In the spirit of the TWA terminal, T5 is a terminal for its times: glamour has been replaced by efficiency, but optimism and exuberance remain important parts of the philosophy behind the JetBlue Terminal -- just as they were for the Saarinen terminal. The simple, budget-conscience building incorporates passenger-friendly design elements such as lounge and traditional seating options at gates, free wi-fi throughout, a 55,000 square foot marketplace area, customer service zones in every concourse, and the ability to order food for delivery directly to your gate.
In response to the historic context of the site, Gensler designed the terminal with a low profile and straight angles to complement – not compete with – Saarinen’s iconic and curvilinear structure. The team excavated the first level 4 feet below ground level, enabling lofty interior spaces while minimizing the new terminal’s height in relation to the TWA terminal and maximizing both sky views and sightlines from the control tower to the runways.