JFK Airport's $19B redevelopment to create traffic nightmares and travel woes this summer

John F. Kennedy International Airport, the busiest airport in our area, is undergoing a major renovation that could mean major headaches for travelers.

"We apologize in advance," said Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, about the coming summer travel season at the airport. "This summer we expect to set a record for summer travel through JFK and we expect to be absolutely at the peak of construction activity at the airport."

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The airport is undergoing a $19 billion redevelopment which will transform the airport into a state-of-the-art travel hub, but the massive road construction that comes along with the redevelopment is expected to create record traffic jams in and around the airport. 

"Periodic lane closures can be expected on the highways accessing all of the terminals and you can also expect long-term traffic pattern changes and detours," said Jessica Forse, the Project Executive. 


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Airfare prices will spike more than $40 per week leading up to Memorial Day weekend. Millions of people are expected to fly, based on data from travel app Hopper. 

The TSA is predicting a nearly 12 percent increase in the number of travelers going through JFK on Memorial Day Weekend compared to the same weekend last year.

So travelers, be warned, and brace yourself for traffic and long, long lines. 

"I was at JFK recently and it is a mess. Just getting a taxi out can take an hour of waiting," said Pauline Frommer, the Editorial Director of Frommer's Travel Guide. "The TSA is saying this could be a record summer with more passengers going through all of our nation’s airports."

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Frommer says that if you can handle the crowds and construction, there is a little bit of good news for your wallet.

"Prices are slightly down from last year," Frommer said. "Six percent domestically, six to twelve percent internationally."

The project at JFK is not expected to be finished until 2030.