Cathay Pacific is making big moves at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

The Hong Kong-based airline announced this week that it will become one of the key inaugural tenants at the airport’s new Terminal 6.

This move to Terminal 6, which is scheduled to open in early 2026, will mark a major shift for Cathay, which now operates from Terminal 8.

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JFK MILLENNIUM PARTNERS

Terminal 8 is considered the Oneworld alliance hub at JFK. The anchor tenant is American Airlines (a founding member of the Oneworld airline alliance), and most of the other Oneworld airlines flying to JFK have relocated their operations there following a recent modernization and expansion project completed by American and airport authorities in 2022. (Cathay moved from Terminal 7 to Terminal 8 in January 2017.)

Cathay’s move to Terminal 6 is largely prompted by the fact that the airline will be able to open its own proprietary lounge at JFK to serve its three daily flights to the airport. The airline didn’t share details about the space other than saying it will be nearly 10,000 square feet. The lounge at JFK will become Cathay’s second U.S. airport lounge after the one at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Many top-tier international airlines like to control the entire end-to-end premium passenger experience, and opening a lounge at an outstation is a great way for the carrier to accomplish that. Plus, Cathay currently needs to compensate American for the flyers that it sends to the Soho, Greenwich and Admirals Club lounges in Terminal 8, which probably gets pretty expensive given all the lounge-eligible travelers flying on Cathay from New York.

Seat update: We got a sneak peek at Cathay Pacific’s sleek new premium economy cabin

“It has long been our ambition to provide our customers a signature Cathay Pacific airport experience at JFK. We are delighted about our partnership with JFK Millennium Partners, which will make this dream a reality,” said Chris van den Hooven, Cathay Pacific’s senior vice president of the Americas, in a statement about the move.

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PORT AUTHORITY

In addition to Cathay Pacific, the Lufthansa Group, Aer Lingus and JetBlue have all shared their intent to operate flights from Terminal 6.

The new Terminal 6 is part of the $19 billion JFK transformation project spearheaded by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the government agency responsible for managing the airport. The transformation includes two brand-new terminals opening in 2026.

Terminal 6 is the smaller of the two projects. Once complete, this $4.2 billion project will span 1.2 million square feet and offer 10 new gates — nine of which can handle wide-body jets. The new terminal will be connected airside to the adjacent Terminal 5, which is home to JetBlue Airways’ JFK hub.

The other project is the construction of the $9.5 billion new Terminal One, which will become one of JFK’s flagship international terminals.

PORT AUTHORITY

The new Terminal One at JFK will incorporate the current and former sites of terminals 1, 2 and 3 into a massive 2.4 million-square-foot international terminal that will anchor the south side of the airport.

The first big milestone, which includes the new arrivals and departures hall and the first set of 14 new gates, is expected to open in 2026. When fully complete in 2030, the new Terminal One will feature 23 gates, a redesigned check-in hall and overhauled arrival spaces.

“New York JFK is among the top locations in our global lounge strategy. We are truly excited by this opportunity to bring the signature Cathay Pacific lounge experience to our premium customers at this important port in our network. This new lounge will feature a number of exciting developments that will put it at the forefront of our lounge proposition, and we look forward to sharing more details with our customers at the appropriate time,” said Vivian Lo, Cathay Pacific’s general manager of the customer experience, in a statement.

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