Although Delta Airlines is working to get borough businesses that are owned by minority and women to work on its multimillion dollar-expansion of its John F. Kennedy International Airport terminal, community members are contending it is not doing enough to make the project more diverse.
Richard Hellenbrecht, the community relations manager for the Delta terminal redevelopment, paid a visit to Community Board 12’s monthly meeting March 16 to push for businesses in southeast Queens to join the project.
Hellenbrecht, a member of CB 13, said the airline is committed to hiring minority and women-owned contractors and the job would be an economic boon to the area that has lost so many jobs.
“They really want to use Queens-based firms,” he said.
The $1.6 billion project will demolish Terminal 3, where Delta currently operates its international flights, and turn that space into one that will hold 16 parked aircraft. Delta will move into Terminal 4, which is the airport’s international terminal and has 16 gates, and will add nine new gates to that part of the airport.
The airline will also update Terminal 4 with new equipment and amenities, including state-of-the-art security machines, the Port Authority said. Construction began in October and it is expected to be fully completed by 2015, according to Hellenbrecht.
So far, Delta has awarded roughly $188 million in contracts to a few companies, including construction company Bovis, which will construct the head house at the terminal.
But several board members, including board parliamentarian Herlema Owens, were vocal against Delta for not awarding those initial contracts first to community-based organizations. Owens, the founder of the advocacy group the Association of Women Construction Workers of America, lashed out at Hellenbrecht before CB 12 Chairwoman Adjoa Gzifa calmed her down.
“Even though it is very early on ... people feel you aren’t giving them a fair share,” she said. “They need to be on the ground floor.”
Hellenbrecht said that only a small percentage of contracts have been awarded and his outreach is aimed at bringing more minority groups to the table. Interested contractors can contact the PA to get certified for the project and updates on any new construction at the terminal.
Interested business owners can log on to regional-alliance.org for more information.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@c
©2011 Community News Group
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