‘Digital-first’ solutions will ‘drive penetration’ at JFK Terminal 6

By Kristiane Sherry |

The new JFK Terminal 6 will be a digital-first space

The new JFK Terminal 6 will be a digital-first space. Image: Vantage Airport Group

Vantage Airport Group is looking for “digital-first” CRM and navigation solutions to “drive penetration” to eventual partner stores at JFK Terminal 6, the operator has said.

Speaking to TRBusiness, Sammy Patel, Vice President Commercial at Vantage Airport Group and Jennifer Janzen, Communications Director at JFK Millennium Partners, outlined their vision for the digitalisation of the new terminal. 

The first phase of the $4.9bn John F Kennedy Terminal 6 project is due for completion in the first quarter of 2026. The full project will be concluded by 2028.

Last month, Vantage Airport Group and JFK Millennium Partners launched a competitive solicitation process for the food and beverage (F&B) and retail space for the new terminal.

Patel said the success of the new building will be in part due to data sharing and CRM management between stakeholders.

“I think it’s really important that we communicate with our passengers as soon as possible before they arrive at the airport,” Patel said. “We want them to come early and to get them ready for the [terminal] offer.”

This can be achieved by working with airline partners and sharing the data of those who want to be communicated with, he added.

In addition, the digitalisation of wayfinding within the terminal will be critical, Patel continued. 

Digital-first check-in at JFK Terminal 6

The digital-first check-in area at the new JFK Terminal 6. Image: Vantage Airport Group

“Something I moan about all the time is information screens. Why is it still the same?” A new approach has the potential to maximise dwell time and subsequent spend. 

“Screens don’t normally tell you how long you have until you actually have to go. It doesn’t tell you how far your gate is or how long it’s going to take you.

“We’ll install similar technology which has already been very successful where we’ve got this traffic light system. When it’s red and flashing, it’s time to go. When it’s yellow you’ve got some time but watch out and we’ll keep you updated. If it’s green, you’ve got ample time.”

He continued: “We’re making it as easy as possible to see that [information] and make the offer available to them. Reduce what I call barriers to entry and really drive penetration to those units.

“Then hopefully we’re going to find great operators who can convert them once we’ve done our job.” 

JFK Terminal 6: Digital-first, ‘holistic’ integration

Integrating technological solutions at JFK Terminal 6 will be integral to the approach, Janzen added.

“Everything is planned to be touchless [contactless] and digital-first,” she detailed. “The expectation is that it will all be integrated into our digital-first approach.” 

Jennifer Janzen JFK Millennium Partners

Jennifer Janzen said all the digital solutions will be integrated throughout the terminal Image: JFK Millennium Partners

Check-in, arrivals and security will all feature the latest technology. Patel is “agnostic” to whether the management of digital and CRM solutions from a duty free perspective will form part of the concessionaire partnership.

“It goes back to collaboration,” he said. “I would like to seek some guidance.”  He said he is open to whether Vantage Airport Group hosts an eCommerce platform, or whether an operator helps deliver that. “We know there’s an opportunity to increase SKUs through eCommerce.”

He also referred to Vantage’s experience with other digital retail solutions. “Our airports in Europe are sort of the first to offer collect on return. We found ways where it can be done at Arrivals duty free, or it can be done through a locker system and managed by our duty free operator.”

Vantage Airport Group Sammy Patel

Sammy Patel said digital solutions will enable US-first concepts. Image: Vantage Airport Group

Patel concluded: “Once we’ve got our key, our preferred partner, we can have a conversation with other stakeholders to see how we can bring some of these other new concepts to life for the first time in a US context. 

“It’s going to be frankly just cool. We’re trying to bring everyone to the table. We will hopefully get to the point where we can do something different, something better for the passenger.”

This is part two of a three-part interview with Vantage Airport Group on the JFK Terminal 6 developments. Part one, ‘Not your typical RFP’, can be read here.

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