When OTG Management was awarded a contract by JetBlue in late February 2008 to create the concession area of the airline’s new terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport, their goal was to get customers to see the OTG philosophy: “We don’t operate airport restaurants; we operate restaurants that happen to be in airports.”

JFK JetBlue Food and Beverage Concession Fit Out-New York, N.Y

The airline was asking for nine full-service restaurants, three coffee shops, six bar/lounges, a food court, and a gourmet market – all keeping with the hip, modern feel of the terminal itself.

The $32 million project was completed in October 2008 and created 22 themed food and beverage concessions ranging in size from 600-4,000 sq ft, featuring an array of cuisines, scattered throughout the departure and arrival level in the 635,000-sq-ft terminal. The project also included the installation ten interactive tables that would allow for the ordering of food from a touch-screen menu, as well as work stations – which JetBlue calls “re:vive clusters” – at which customers could relax and charge their electronic devices.

The tight, four-month project schedule for construction manager Hill International of New York demanded 20-hour working shifts that presented the team with its fair share of challenges. Access was often quite limited as the international airport, one of the busiest in the world, remained fully operational throughout construction. Work had to be done quickly without impeding operations or posing safety risks to airport staff or the thousands of passengers who use the airport every day.

Each venue had its own different type of specialty materials – such as glass tiles from Italy – which required early buy-outs and installation that were specific to manufacturer’s instructions. As a result, Hill addressed these needs by setting up virtual working sessions online between the design and construction teams to verify the crucial compliance of both material and equipment.

“It was a logistical nightmare,” said Michael Brothers, vice president of Hill International and project manager of the JetBlue concession fit out.

Despite the aggressive schedule and massive increase in scope, the concessions throughout JFK’s Terminal 5 managed to be completed on time and within budget.

“It was a good project that required a team effort,” Brothers said. “Each contractor rose to the occasion.

Key Players

Owner: OTG Management, Philadelphia, PA
Construction Manager: Hill International, New York, NY
Prime Contractors: Ibex Contracting, New York, NY
Prime Contractors: Emanon Electric, South Ozone Park, NY