John F. Kennedy International Airport is an international airport in Queens owned by New York City and leased to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, about 12 miles (19 km) southeast of LowerManhattan. In 2011 it was the busiest international air passenger gateway to the United States, handling more international traffic than any other airport in North America. It is also the leading freight gateway to the country by value of shipments. In 2011, the airport handled 47,809,910 passengers, making it the 17th busiest airport in the world and sixth busiest in the United States in terms of passenger traffic. The New York City metropolitan area's JFK International, LaGuardia, and Newark International airports, all operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, combine to create the largest airport system in the United States, second in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and first in the world in terms of total flight operations. In the last few years it has made extensive improvements to terminals, roadways and inter-terminal transportation.
The airport was originally known as Idlewild Airport until 1963, when it was renamed after John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.
Over ninety airlines operate out of JFK. It is the base of operations for JetBlue Airways and is a major international gateway hub for American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. In the past, it has been a hub for Eastern Air Lines, Gemini Air Cargo, National Airlines, Pan American World Airways and Trans World Airlines. It is one of only two airports in North America, the other being Toronto Pearson International Airport, with scheduled flights to all six inhabited continents