JFK’s ARK animal terminal prepares for opening

John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York is due to open its new terminal for animals later this month. The 178,000ft² facility, called the ARK, will handle everything from dogs and cats through to thoroughbred horses and more exotic creatures.

Built at a cost of US$65m, the ARK sits on 14.5 acres of land in a cargo area that is easily accessible to aircraft. Located in Building 78, the ARK replaces the previous Vetport service, with better facilities for animals. Included is a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital, daycare services, and more efficient ways to transport different species.

The airport expects around 5,000 horses, 10,000 small pets such as cats and dogs, and a wide range of birds, to be among those making use of the ARK. Some rooms even feature anti-microbial coverings on the walls and special filtration systems to ensure that no two animals are breathing the same air.

John Cuticelli, whose investment and real estate company, Racebook Capital, was hired by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to develop the facility, told the New York Post, “The ARK has been built to facilitate the safe and humane transportation of animals from around the world. Right now, animals can wait four or five hours on the tarmac or in the cargo facility because there is no other way to process them. I visited animal care facilities all over the world to see what everyone was doing. I wanted to be one of the only people in the world who understands the discipline completely.”