NEW YORK — Delta Air Lines unveiled an expanded terminal area at John F. Kennedy International Airport Tuesday, meant to help customers on its regional jets connect easier.
The $175 million project added 11 gates and 75,000 square feet to the airport's Terminal 4, allowing Delta to shift most — but not all — of its small plane operations out of its aging Terminal 2. Many domestic flights on larger jets will still depart from Terminal 2.
Gail Grimmett, the Delta senior vice president in charge of the airline's New York operation, called JFK the "bridge to the world" deserving on a modern terminal. Passengers on regional jets previously had to walk outside, on the tarmac, to get to their planes. Grimmett said that was "not necessarily the experience Delta customers want."
Now, all passengers leaving JFK will get to use an enclosed jet bridge. By having more regional gates in Terminal 4, Delta is also able to connect passengers more easily to long-haul flights to places like London or Tokyo.
The new gates — B42 to B55 — are however a 15-minute brisk walk from the security checkpoint. To help make that journey easier, Delta also added a new bus area bringing passengers from the beginning of the terminal to the end, as well as connecting to Terminal 2.
"This is a 21st century facility with 21st century amenities," said Pat Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport.
Atlanta-based Delta sees 12 million passengers a year fly through JFK. The airline offers up to 460 daily flights out of JFK and New York's LaGuardia Airport to more than 110 destinations.
Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott