The Unofficial JFK Airport 50th Anniversary Page

The Unofficial JFK Airport 50th Anniversary Page


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Over a decade ago, on July 1, 1998, New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) celebrated 50 years of serving as the New York City region’s primary international airport. The airport opened in 1948 as New York International Airport, but was generally referred to as Idlewild (IDL). It is the newest of the New York region’s three major airports, and the only one to open since the Second World War. As the airport completes to be upgraded, it will continue to serve residents and visitors to New York for years to come.

The development of airline transportation over the last five decades is reflected in the airport’s history. New York International Airport’s first decade coincided with the introduction of large piston-powered airliners, such as Boeing’s 377 Stratocruiser, into airline service. As traffic increased in the 1950s, nine passenger terminals were built in various distinctive architectural styles to handle the larger jet aircraft that entered passenger service beginning in 1958. These were the days when New Yorkers would travel out to the airport to watch the new machines, and to dine at the Golden Door restaurant. However, dramatic increases in passenger and cargo traffic during the 1960s led to congested conditions at JFK by the time widebody jets were introduced in the early 1970s. New York’s proportion of international traffic began to decrease as airlines started direct flights between overseas destinations and other U.S. cities. After several false starts, including a mid-1980s Port Authority plan to redevelop the passenger terminal area, the airport is being improved. Completed projects include a new 321-foot control tower, improved roads, new Terminal 1 and cargo facilities. In May 2001 the replacement for the International Arrivals Building, Terminal 4, was dedicated. The airport's new automated rail system, "Airtrain", opened in December 2004. American Airlines built and is now using a new Terminal 8, replacing the classic American and United terminals. And in October 2008, JetBlue opened up its new Terminal 5, located behind the classic TWA Flight Center. For the full story of this project, see "JetBlue Takes 5 at JFK" in the January/February 2009 issue of Airliners magazine.

Below are links to historic Idlewild/JFK Photographs from the files of The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and the files of Bill Weber.

This page is not affiliated with or sponsored by The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Click here for the PANYNJ site.


This page was created by Bill Hough: psa188@yahoo.com
View the photos by Bill Hough on Airliners.net!
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Historic Idlewild/JFK Photographs from the files of The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey


Pan Am B377 Stratocruiser "Clipper Westward Ho"
Pan American DC-8 N802PA on the IAB ramp
Pan American DC-7C N749PA on the IAB ramp
Pan American DC-6 N6534C in Hangar 14
Pan American B-377 N1033V on Van Wyck Overpass
Passengers boarding Pan Am 707 Jet Clipper Westward Ho
Pan Am B707 N717PA at Pan Am terminal
Pan Am DC-8 at terminal
Twilight view of Pan Am terminal
Pan American DC-6 at terminal
Aerial view of Pan Am terminal
Pan Am DC-8s N811PA and N802PA on IAB ramp
Pan Am 707 N794PA loading cargo
Pan Am DC-4 "Clipper Pegasus"
Pan Am 707 N710PA on IAB Ramp
United DC-6 N37517 in flight over Manhattan
TWA "CargoJet" B707 N786TW loading freight
Landside photo of United Terminal
Photograph of control tower in the 1950s
Exterior view of temporary terminal
View inside the cab of the temporary tower in 1948
Plane-mate hooking up to an Iberia 747
Aerial view of IAB west wing and Delta Worldport
Exterior view of American Airlines terminal in 1961
"Fliteseer" tram in front of a pair of Alitalia DC-7s
Another exterior of temporary terminal
Peruvian International Airlines July 1948 inagural ceremony
Pan Am DC-4 N88921 on a snowy IAB ramp
Carey Transportation Flxible (sic) Clipper in front of temporary terminal
Northwest B377 N74604 at inagural ceremonies
Aerial view of TWA terminal under construction
Control tower under construction in 1951
Beatles exiting a PA DC-8 in 1964
Close-up view of control tower cab
B-36 at the "International Air Exposition", 1948
American DC-7 on ramp with tower visible in the distance

Historic Idlewild/JFK Photographs from the files of Bill Weber

American Convair 990 climbing out
Air Canada Vanguard CF-TKJ
Cunard Eagle Britannia
Avianca B720 HK-724 at IAB
Another view of Avianca B720 HK-724 at IAB
Aerolineas Argentinas Comet LV-AIB at IAB
United Caravelle N1004U
Another view of United Caravelle N1004U
Another view of United Caravelle N1004U
United Caravelle N1004U climbing out
Seaboard World CL-44 N124SW
Seaboard World CL-44 N125SW
American Convair 990 N5606
American Convair 990 N5606 tail
American Convair 990 N5606 engine
American Convair 990 N5610
Riddle DC-7
New York Airways Boeing Vertol 107
New York Airways Boeing Vertol 107 in flight
Another view of New York Airways Boeing Vertol 107 in flight
Varig Caravelle PP-VJC
Royal Canadian Air Force Convair 11153 at IAB
Royal Canadian Air Force Convair 11153 climbing out
Varig Caravelle at IAB
TWA terminal under construction
Trans-Canada Constellation
Trans-Canada Vanguard
TWA Constellation N7121C after explosion
Another view of TWA Constellation N7121C after explosion
Another view of TWA Constellation N7121C after explosion
TWA Convair 880 N810TW
TWA Convair 880 N812TW
Delta Convair 880 on final approach
Delta Convair 880 N8802E
Delta Convair 880 N8804E
Viasa Convair 880 YV-C-VIA at IAB
Viasa Convair 880 YV-C-VIB at IAB
Military Air Transport Service VC137 86972
Lufthansa B720B D-ABOM
Northwest B720B N721US
TWA 720-051B N793TW
TWA 720-051B departing IDL
American 707-123B N7507A departing IDL
American 707-123B N7510A
American 720-023B N7540A
American 720-023 climbing out
American 720-023 N7527A departing JFK
American 720-023 N7527A in Hangar 10
Tail of American 720-023 N7527A in Hangar 10
Engine of American 720-023 N7527A in Hangar 10
American B720-023 flight deck
American B720-023 cabin
American B720-023 lounge
United B720-022 N7206U
United B720-022 N7206U Tail
United B720-022 N7211U on final




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