Iconic Pan Am Worldport at JFK Airport to be Demolished?

JFK Terminal 3 - Once Pan Am Worldport Facility

JFK Terminal 3 – Once Iconic Pan Am Worldport – Currently used by Delta Air Lines

Wrecking Ball to Raze Pan Am Worldport in 2015

March 12, 2013 – Louisville, KY (FlyersPulse.com) – The original Pan Am Worldport at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport is now being used by Delta Air Lines after the demise of Pan Am in 1991. Today, the building is simply known as Terminal 3. The terminal is outdated and simply unable to meet the needs of its current tenant, Delta Air Lines.

A new international facility for Delta is near completion in Terminal 4. This May, Delta will abandon Terminal 3 for their new home in Terminal 4. After this happens, the old Terminal 3 facility is slated to be razed to make room for additional ramp space at JFK airport.

When Kalev Savi of Sydney, Australia, found out the the Pan Am Worldport building was slated for destruction, he picked up and moved nearly 10,000 miles to the greater New York City area. Savi ultimately joined forces with local aviation enthusiast Anthony Stramaglia and Lisa Turano Wojcik, the daughter of Worldport architect, Emanuel N. Turano, in an effort to save the Pan Am Worldport. The three formed the Save The Worldport campaign.

Pan Am Worldport History

Originally known as the Pan Am “Unit Terminal Building” and renamed the Pan Am Worldport in 1971, the facility ushered in the Golden Era of Aviation. The design of the facility is unique, one of the most prominent features being what has become known as the “Flying Saucer” roof.

Prior to the design of jetways, the roof provided an overhang allowing passengers to board aircraft by stairs or uncovered walkways without getting wet during rainy weather.

The facility was designed by Ives, Turano & Gardner Associated Architects and Walther Prokosch of Tippets-Abbett-McCarthy-Stratton. The building is rich in history and served as an icon for Pan Am as the jet age became reality.

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The Future of The Worldport

At FlyersPulse, we reached out to both the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), the airport operator, as well as Delta Air Lines to no avail. However, Delta CEO Richard Anderson said, “It’s not an asset you can recover at this point.” in The Architect’s Newspaper in 2010.

However, the Save The Worldport campaign is gaining momentum and we interviewed Kalev Savi and Anthony Stramaglia about their efforts. The campaign is working to have the ex Pan Am facility added to the National Register of Historical Buildings. When I asked Savi what the process was, he said, “The first step is to nominate the site to the New York State Historical Preservation Office (NYSHPO) which then investigates the matter and rules by the criteria outlined in their website whether a building is eligible.”

Among the guidelines, “Properties less than 50 years of age, with rare exceptions, are not considered eligible for listing” according to Savi. However, Savi and Stramaglia uncovered the fact that the terminal was deemed eligible for listing back in 1988 when the building was only 28 years old. However, it is not known why the building was not approved and passed on to the National Park Service back at the time. The building more or less sat on the list as “eligible for inclusion” until the PANYNJ submitted a report by consultants “Fitzgerald & Halliday” dated Feb. 28, 2001, which formed the basis for decision by NYSHPO to reject this building for National Heritage listing considerations.

Savi and Stramaglia obtained a copy of the report under the freedom of information act and were shocked after reading the report. Without mincing words, Savi said, “The report was an overtly negative hatchet job.”

The two believe the building can be preserved by looking at outside of the box solutions.

We spoke to a couple of travelers who are regular users of the facility with mixed opinion. One traveler, Neal Roscoe, said, “I think it would me more feasible to raise funds for a well done exhibit at JFK about the history of T3. I know it had a grand history, but it was neglected, out of date, leaky and as a Delta flyer I can’t wait to see it go. Although I do hope someone will rescue the wild birds flying around in there before they demolish it.”

Another Delta traveler, Mark Johnson opined, “I believe the original building to the terminal needs to be preserved. It played an important role during the era of Pan Am, the defacto United States ‘flag carrier’ during the beginning of the jetage. The building is in need of some repairs but I believe it can be restored like they did with the TWA building. Buildings like this just don’t exist anymore.”

As you can see opinions vary, but the history of the facility cannot be denied.

Visit:Save The Worldport

What are your thoughts?

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One Response


I can’t believe they’re going to demolish it, for what? The once Pan Am, now Delta Terminal 3 has a grand history to it. It’s been in countless movies and is an American Icon.

Amazing how politicans can spend all the pork money they want when it comes to a bridge to nowhere, but they can’t be bothered with a piece of Americana.

What happens to the passenger facility surcharge I pay each time I fly through there, surely is goes into a slush fund or something?

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