Delta Air Lines showed off its new 11 gates at Kennedy Airport Tuesday, capping the carrier's $1.4 billion investment in the terminal.
The recently opened Concourse B at Terminal 4 will not only benefit Delta's passengers, but also the region, said Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, which operates Kennedy and other major airports in New York and New Jersey.
The 12 million passengers Delta is expected to bring through Kennedy this year, Foye said, is anticipated to generate about $8.5 billion in economic activity.
"Governor [Andrew]Cuomo has spoken strongly and frequently -- recently -- about modernizing our airports ... And, obviously the unveiling of the terminal today is exactly what Governor Cuomo is calling for," Foye said Tuesday at the ribbon- cutting ceremony. "This is a 21st century facility with 21st century amenities."
Delta's operations at Kennedy in Queens is the airline's second-biggest hub after Atlanta, where the carrier is based, said Gail Grimmett, a Delta senior vice president.
The project, which cost Delta $175 million, added 75,000 square feet of space to Terminal 4, creating room for the 11 new gates for the airline's regional jet operations.
The latest expansion allowed Delta to move most of its connecting flights from Terminal 2 to Terminal 4, making travel easier for passengers heading to other destinations, said Gail Grimmett, a Delta senior vice president.
Previously, passengers flying on Delta's regional jets had to walk on the tarmac to get to their planes, she said.
"In the old days, they would land in Terminal 2, transit to Terminal 4, and then get to their connections," she said.
Terminal 3, Delta's old home, which had a leaky roof and plastic buckets that collect rainwater, has been torn down and the site will be used for aircraft parking.
In the first phase of the renovation and expansion of Terminal 4, completed in 2013, Delta and the terminal's operator consolidated two passenger security checkpoints to one centralized location on the fourth floor and moved the concessions behind the checkpoint.
"Once they're through, we enhanced the shopping experience and the food and the retail experience" she said.