JetBlue looks to get into the hotel business with JFK conversion

JetBlue Airways is eyeing a former terminal at Kennedy Airport in New York, with plans to turn it into a hotel.

According The Wall Street Journal, JetBlue is in negotiations with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the rights to turn the Trans World Airlines terminal at Kennedy Airport into a hotel. The airline is partnering with New York-based hotel developer MCR Development to develop the proposed hotel, and a source familiar with the process told The Wall Street Journal that, though talks could still potentially fall through, JetBlue and MCR are the preferred bidders.

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Bloomberg reported that the venture between JetBlue and MCR would be a one-off project, and JetBlue has no plans to invest in more hotel properties or put its name on the potential Kennedy hotel. If the development was approved, MCR would be the majority investor in the project.

The hotel in question would have 500 rooms, according to Curbed. The terminal it would inhabit first opened in 1962, but closed in 2001 and has only been used for events and tours. The building is also an exterior and interior landmark, meaning any changes to the structure would have to be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. It has been speculated that the historic portion of the terminal would be transformed into the hotel's lounge and restaurant, while two new towers would be constructed for guestrooms.

Occupancy at airport hotels is at an all time high, as their convenience and location in terms of transportation continue to score points for travelers in terms of convenience. Last week, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced that it will be developing more airport hotels in India to meet these demands, with Shantha De Silva, head of South West Asia, IHG, telling Hospitality Biz India that "Airport hotels are always going to be in demand. The demand for rooms at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel has been so strong that we recently signed an agreement to extend the hotel by 243 rooms, which will increase the room count by more than 75 percent.