Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are weighing up major investments in new terminal facilities at New York's Kennedy Airport, already in the middle of a massive $9 billion redevelopment programme for new terminals and infrastructure.

Delta and United operate from outdated and overcrowded facilities while many of their competitors have committed to new quarters.

Delta is discussing building its own terminal, which could cost up to $1 billion, but is also considering joining forces with a new terminal already under construction. Terminal 4, being built by a private joint venture comprising Schiphol USA, LCOR and Lehman Brothers, is due for completion by November 2001. It will have 16 gates, but its design allows expansion up to 36 gates.

United, which operates its international flights from British Airways' terminal and its domestic flights from another, is considering a major renovation of the domestic terminal to accommodate all of its flights, including its international operations. That could cost as much as $340 million. BA, which wants its space back from United, also plans a terminal renovation.

JetBlue Airways, a well-capitalised, low-fare new entrant set to begin services early next year, is also considering whether it should commit to a new terminal of its own, although it will start off in an existing facility. JetBlue is also being courted by Terminal 4 officials.

A new terminal, built by Air France, Japan Airlines, Korean Air and Germany's Lufthansa, opened last year, and recently American Airlines committed to constructing a new 57-gate terminal on the site of its two existing facilities, to open in 2006.

Officials of airport operator the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey hope the massive renovation will help Kennedy, once the USA's premier international gateway, to regain its status.

Source: Airline Business