LaGuardia Airport, located on banks of the Flushing Bay near the heart of New York City, would seem to be the ideal airport for fast trips in & out of the area. Unfortunately, the aging facility is unable to properly handle the 14 million passengers that travel through it each year, and has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s slowest & least-liked airports.
Operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, LaGuardia’s current main terminal building opened in 1964 with a designed capacity of no more than 8 million passengers per year, far less than the current annual passenger load in excess of 14 million.
After years of controversy and political maneuvering, it appears that the airport will finally get a desperately needed facelift.
More of a complete rebuild than a facelift, the entire Central Terminal Building is scheduled to be demolished and replaced with a brand new terminal building. The new facility will include 35 gates in a 1.3 million square foot building, plus a parking garage, new roads & ramps, and a plethora of improved passenger amenities.
Heavily promoted by Governor Cuomo, the new unified terminal design was largely developed by the Governor’s Airport Master Plan Advisory Panel.
Still under consideration are a number of other possible options for improving transportation to & from the airport, including the possibility of a subway or other type of rail transport. Numerous proposals have been floated over the last several years, and it seems likely that some sort of mass transit link will eventually be built.
The new terminal and associated roads, ramps, & parking are scheduled for partial completion by 2019, and full operation by 2021.
While the new Central Terminal Building and associated facilities are under construction, Delta Airlines will redevelop the adjacent terminal buildings. When complete, all of the terminal buildings will be joined together as a unified facility, equipped with the latest technology to provide passengers with fast and efficient service.
Airport flight operations will also be greatly improved. After demolishing and relocating most of the existing facilities, the end effect will be that the entire passenger facility will be located roughly 600 feet closer to Central Parkway. This will free up much-needed space for improvements to runways and taxiways at the currently cramped 680 acre airport.
Construction will be overseen by LaGuardia Gateway Partners, a public-private consortium that will be responsible for designing, building, financing, operating, and maintaining the new terminal as part of a 35-year lease. Financing will come from a variety of private sources plus various airport fees and concession revenue.