Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Queens Airports Provide Many Travel Options

Queens holds two major airports: LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, known as LGA and JFK, respectively. Both airports are run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and fly millions of travelers to their destinations every year.

LaGuardia was the first to open, in 1939 at the site of the old Gala Amusement Park originally owned by the Steinway family. It began as Glen H. Curtiss Airport and its name was changed to North Beach Airport shortly after. New York City bought the airport and expanded it, and it was reopened in 1939 as New York Municipal Airport-LaGuardia Field. The Authority took over the airport in 1947; it still operates the airport and plans to continue until 2050.

LaGuardia now consists of 680 acres and 72 gates and is home to more than 20 national airlines, including airlines to Puerto Rico, Canada, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic. Last year it flew 22,142,336 passengers in a total of 354,048 plane movements.

John F. Kennedy Airport is the top pick for international flights, with more than twice as many passengers as LaGuardia and 414,928 plane movements last year, as well as serving as the takeoff and landing site for more than 70 airlines with destinations around the world.

The airport was built on the site of Idlewild Golf Course in 1942 and given the name Idlewild Airport. Six years later, commercial flights began, and in 1963 the 4,930-acre airport was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport, after Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated on November 22 of that year.

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