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JFK Airport's Iconic Pan Am Terminal Days Appear Numbered

Image: JFK Airport's Iconic Pan Am Terminal Days Appear Numbered

By Michael Mullins   |   Friday, 21 Jun 2013 07:07 AM

Pan Am's Worldport, commonly referred to as the "flying saucer" terminal of John F. Kennedy International Airport, will be demolished after 53 years of service.

The iconic structure at JFK's Terminal 3, which at one point symbolized the "glamorous American carrier" that was Pan Am, noted the New York Times, was abandoned last month by Delta Air Lines, which occupied the space after Pan Am went under in 1991.

In addition to its futuristic design, the extended circular roof that shot out 114 feet from the terminal was intended to protect Pan Am customers from inclement weather as they boarded their flight from the tarmac.

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Realizing the terminal's days are numbered, on Wednesday the National Trust for Historic Preservation released its annual roster of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places which included the "endangered" terminal 3, describing the building as a symbol of "America’s entry into the Jet Age," the New York Times reports.

In addition, an online petition has also begun on a grass roots level to "Save the Worldport," which has already garnered more than 3,500 signatures.

Despite the petition and the classification from the preservation organization, which cannot stop the structure's seemingly inevitable demolition, workers are already reportedly at the site removing asbestos and lead paint in preparation for wrecking crews.

The Worldport's demise became apparent in 2010 when Delta Air Lines in conjunction with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns and runs JFK International, announced a $1.2 Billion redevelopment project at the airport.

As part of the plan, the entire Terminal 3 complex would be demolished and converted into an aircraft parking zone by 2015.

In addition the plan would also expand Terminal 4, where Delta has since relocated its operations to.

In light of the renovation, the "aircraft parking will drive a lot of operational efficiencies for us [and] planes will get to the gates quicker," Delta Airlines spokeswoman Leslie P. Scott told The Times.

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"The old Pan Am Worldport terminal at J.F.K. served this region for more than a half century, but is obsolete for 21st-century aviation purposes," Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico told The Times. "Unfortunately, J.F.K. is a land-constrained airport, and the space where Worldport is located cannot be set aside for preservation because it is needed for other aviation uses that will lead to job creation and economic growth."

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