From ‘Third World’ to Soaring: LaGuardia’s New Central Terminal Opens Its Doors With Little Fanfare

The new LaGuardia Arrivals and Departures Hall

By Paul Riegler on 13 June 2020
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“It is hard to build a new airport while you are operating an old airport,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at a ceremony at LaGuardia Airport 18 months ago when the new Eastern Concourse was opened.

Hard it was. But not impossible.

On Saturday, the strikingly modern Arrivals and Departures Hall at the new LaGuardia Airport opened its doors to passengers and onlookers alike, as well as to a few members of the press.

Meanwhile, construction of the new facility had been taking place while the airport continues to operate at full speed.  Now, a little over four years after the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey greenlighted the start of construction, 80% of a completely new LaGuardia Airport had been completed but there is still much to be done before the new LaGuardia Airport is 100% complete.

The original Central Terminal Building has been largely demolished and a new structure was built closer to the Grand Central Parkway, a site previously occupied largely by parking facilities. The only portions of the original Central Terminal Building – also known as Terminal B – that remain are the B, C, and D gates that will be eliminated in 2022 when the new Western Concourse opens.  The new Eastern Concourse, whose name is unrelated to the former airline of the same name that flew into LaGuardia, opened in December 2018

LaGuardia Airport in New York City, named after the feisty mayor who demanded an airplane bound for New York actually land within the city’s borders (it had stopped in Newark, New Jersey, prompting the mayor’s outcry), is one of the 20 busiest airports in the United States.

“We have established the lesson for the entire world…” said Mayor La Guardia in 1938.

The airport opened to short-haul flights the previous year as New York Municipal Airport-LaGuardia Field. The first transatlantic flight took place on March 31, 1940, a Pan Am flight with the destination of Lisbon, Portugal.

The aerodrome received the name LaGuardia Airport in 1953 in honor of Mayor LaGuardia, who had died five years earlier.

LaGuardia Airport is currently home to nine airlines across four terminals.  The list of carriers includes Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, and WestJet.

Delta Air Lines is building a new terminal that will replace Terminals C and D and that will fully open in 2022.  It will feature 37 gates, a centralized check-in area and security checkpoint, and a new Sky Club with an outdoor Sky Deck.

Two airlines – Alaska and JetBlue – operate out of the historic Marine Air Terminal, also known as Terminal A, which is the only active airport today that dates back to the start of commercial air travel in the United States.  Frontier and Spirit operate out of the Delta terminal, Terminal D.

Jonathan Spira and Kurt Stolz contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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