JetBlue’s JFK Terminal: Airport Architecture Hits Low

James S. Russell at Bloomberg News:

A parade of politicians and company officials last week unveiled the final design of a 26-gate terminal for JetBlue Airways Corp. in New York.

In extolling the plans for the new terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which is scheduled to open in 2009, they also cited the glories of the bird-wing arching vaults of the old TWA Terminal. The 1962 masterpiece by Eero Saarinen, where the ceremony took place, is one of very few modern buildings designated a National Historic Landmark. It will remain in place as JetBlue, which signed the 30-year lease for the terminal on Nov. 22, builds behind it.

Though it has not served passengers for years, Saarinen’s terminal recalls a more genteel era when airport architecture could stylishly and unapologetically welcome people to the city.

JetBlue’s new terminal, unfortunately, shows just how low air travel can go. At $875 million, it’s $125 million cheaper than the bare-bones JFK barracks that American Airlines opened last summer — and looks it.

More here.  [Also see Asad Raza’s short essay about JFK which mentions the Saarinen terminal here.]