Follow The Money . . .

Forget KBR, Halliburton, the CIA or even the Jews — it’s obviously Aramark who was behind 9/11:

Travelers using Kennedy International Airport who have not flown in a while may be surprised by the stores and restaurants they see on the way to their flights. The retailing mix in the airport is changing, with more new and unexpected offerings and more restaurants than ever.

There are a number of reasons. Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, increased security means that people are arriving earlier for their flights, leaving them with more time to shop. A cutback in the food service on many flights has more people seeking sustenance in the airport. And the weak dollar has brought an influx in foreign travelers, many of them expecting more upscale offerings in airport terminals, like those in their home countries.

Several terminals at Kennedy reflect these trends, the newest being Terminal 5, JetBlue Airways’ $743 million, 635,000-square-foot facility, which is to open in September. The terminal is behind the old Terminal 5, which was once used by Trans World Airlines and has been closed since 2001. Plans for the older terminal have not yet been determined.

Among the new terminal’s 19 retail outlets will be the first airport store in the United States operated by Muji, a Japanese clothing and housewares retailer whose only other outposts in this nation are in Manhattan. Muji’s store will include an unusual detail: a fireproofed steel column will be left exposed, enclosed in glass. Hiroyoshi Azami, president of Muji U.S.A. Ltd., said this is to preserve “the very natural feel of the structure.”

The new terminal will also have the first branded shop anywhere for the New York AM radio station WFAN, offering products like T-shirts and mugs carrying the logo of the station, which caters to sports lovers, and licensed merchandise from local teams.

Other Kennedy retailers that have recently opened include a shop selling only Puma footwear, apparel and accessories — the first at a United States airport — in Terminal 4, occupied by numerous international carriers. Also, Solstice Sunglass Boutique has opened its first airport outlet in American Airlines’ Terminal 8.

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