Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the first new gates in LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B will open this Saturday.
The opening is part of the $8 billion transformation of LaGuardia Airport into a unified 21st century terminal system, providing a world-class passenger experience and featuring modern customer amenities, state-of-the-art architecture and more spacious gate areas.
“The opening of the first new concourse and gates at Terminal B marks another significant milestone in the transformation of LaGuardia Airport into a modern, global gateway that is worthy of the State of New York,” said Cuomo. “While leaders in Washington only talk about investing in infrastructure, in New York we are actually getting it done, and now travelers from across the world will start to see and experience a whole new LaGuardia.”
The first new gates represent another step forward in the complex, multi-phase construction plan designed to enable the 30-million passengers-a-year airport to remain fully operational while the entire airport is rebuilt. Under the plan, old facilities are demolished only as new facilities are completed, ensuring the airport never loses capacity.
The new concourse is designed with soaring 55-foot high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that allow ample natural light to fill space, which includes an indoor park with benches, landscaping and real trees. Charging stations are placed throughout the gate seating areas, with free, fast and unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi enabling travelers to surf, search and stream while they wait. Family amenities include an airport-themed children’s play area, family-friendly restrooms and a private nursing room. Large, modern restrooms include spacious stalls and above-sink shelves designed to keep belongings dry.
More than a dozen concessions in the new concourse include appealing, New York-inspired food, beverage and retail options – with the ability for passengers to have food delivered directly to their gate. Restaurants include popular New York establishments such as Shake Shack, La Chula, Osteria Fusco, Kingside and Irving Farm Coffee. Retail venues include an FAO Schwarz toy store, McNally Jackson independent bookseller and District Market, which includes ‘Made in Queens’ products through a partnership with the Queens Economic Development Corp.
Cuomo first unveiled the vision for a comprehensive redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport in 2015, and the project broke ground in 2016. When completed, the new 2.7 million square foot LaGuardia Airport will be the first new airport built in the U.S. in more than 25 years.
The new airport will comprise $8 billion in new facilities. On the western side of the airport, the new $4 billion Terminal B is replacing the obsolete terminal that opened more than 50 years ago. The terminal will have a total of 35 gates, including the first 11 opening this weekend and 7 more coming into service in early 2020. Dual pedestrian bridges will rise over active plane taxi lanes, connecting the main departures and arrivals hall that will open in 2020 with the two island concourses, offering travelers views of the Manhattan skyline as they head to and from their gates.
On the eastern side of the airport, Delta Air Lines’ new $4 billion Terminal C, which broke ground in August 2017, will ultimately comprise a total 37 gates. The new Terminal C will replace the existing Terminals C and D and is scheduled to open in 2021.
LGP and Delta are privately financing two-thirds of the redevelopment’s costs, and the Port Authority has committed the remaining one-third – most of it for overhauling and simplifying the current labyrinth network of on-airport roadways.
In September, the Port Authority commenced the formal environmental review for the proposed AirTrain LGA, which would provide a critical rail link to the airport at Willets Point via the Long Island Rail Road and 7 subway line. The proposed route would provide a reliable trip to LaGuardia from Midtown Manhattan in less than 30 minutes at a time when travel times by car continue to increase and become more unpredictable due to congestion.
Overall, the redevelopment of LaGuardia is anticipated to create a combined $10 billion in economic activity and $2.5 billion in wages over the life of the project. To date, the airport redevelopment, including both terminal projects, has issued more than 750 contracts valued at more than $1 billion to certified Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses, advancing New York State’s nation-leading utilization rate of MWBEs and a testament to its unparalleled network of MWBEs.
Additionally, a total of 259 local residents have been hired to work in the new Terminal B concourse, with more than 50 percent of those employees residing in Queens.
“LaGuardia Airport is an essential component of New York’s economy and visitors’ first impression of Queens. By transforming this gateway to the city and state into a world-class airport, we are providing a top-notch experience for anyone traveling to New York for business or pleasure. I thank Governor Cuomo for making this a top priority of his administration and look forward to seeing the completion of this critical project,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley.
Assemblyman and Speaker Pro Tempore Jeffrion Aubry (D-East Elmhurst, LeFrak City, parts of Corona, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst) also praised Cuomo for consistently making significant investments in the state’s infrastructure.
“These upgrades to LaGuardia Airport will make a real difference in the lives of New Yorkers and provide a world-class experience to those who travel to our state,” said Aubry.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said that as project after project is completed, the once outdated facility is transforming LaGuardia Airport into a world-class, 21st century transportation hub.
“The new gates will not only ease passenger travel, but they will also offer the amenities that all visitors have come to expect at international airports today. Queens lauds Governor Cuomo for committing to this massive undertaking and for spurring economic growth through new jobs and opportunities brought on by this project,” said Katz.