New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden have announced plans for a massive redesign at LaGuardia Airport that will merge the facility into a single main terminal and expand passenger access and amenities.
The $4 billion LaGuardia redesign, which was first announced early last year, is expected to break ground in the first part of 2016 following final approval rom the Board of Directors of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The majority of this first half of the project is expected to open to passengers in 2019, with full completion scheduled for approximately 18 months later. The second half of the new unified terminal is expected to be redeveloped by Delta Air Lines, and anticipates beginning the redevelopment of its terminals on a parallel track with the LaGuardia Gateway Partners project to complete the new unified airport.
The current terminal layout, which consists of multiple terminals, will be replaced with one main, architecturally unified building by demolishing the existing Terminal B building, which is operated by the Port Authority, and replacing it with a larger structure. The new terminal will be located closer to the Grand Central Parkway, and the western half will include new terminal space and a new Central Arrivals and Departures Hall, plus a link to Delta's Terminals C and D.
The eastern half of the new terminal will be constructed on a parallel track by Delta, redeveloping its existing Terminals closer to the Grand Central Parkway and connecting them to the new Central Arrivals and Departures Hall.
The redesigned facility will also utilize an island-gate system, in which passengers access their gates via raised pedestrian bridges, high enough for aircraft to taxi underneath, which connect back to the main terminal.
Together, the relocated terminals and island-gate system will create nearly two miles of new taxiway space, allowing for more efficient aircraft circulation and reduced taxi times, according to the plan announcement.
The new unified terminal will also be designed to incorporate a future AirTran terminal. As part of his 2015 Opportunity Agenda, Governor Cuomo had also proposed creating an AirTran link that directly connects LaGuardia to the New York City subway system and the Long Island Rail Road.
The new airport also plans to include more space for TSA screening to reduce wait times and elevated infrastructure to make the airport more resistant to storms like Superstorm Sandy.
New York City area transportation advocacy organization Global Gateway Alliance (GGA) has released a statement applauding the new plan, but at the same time cautioning the need for clear budgets and timelines.
"So today’s announcement of a unified terminal for LaGuardia and a vision for modernizing New York's airports by Governor Cuomo and Vice President Biden is a win for these efforts, and an important step in bringing New York’s airports closer to par with competitors around the nation and the world," said GGA Chairman and Founder Joseph Sitt. "But in order to transform these visions into reality, we must stick to clear budgets and timelines for completing the projects. For too long, our airports have been caught in big modernization plans and small actions. Today’s announcement should signal the beginning of a new era of fast and efficient overhauls to the region’s vital gateways."