With the downturn in airline traffic still ongoing, Conde Nast's Jessica Puckett reports on proceedings at La Guardia Airport, New York.
In the latest rollout of its sweeping construction project, New York City's LaGuardia Airport opened seven new gates in its brand new Terminal B building on Wednesday. The gates will be operated by American Airlines and are the first in the terminal's Western Concourse, which is opening in two phases.
Along with the first seven gates, phase one of the concourse's opening includes a Gotham News newsstand and a portion of an indoor park—which features greenery and benches—and New York City-inspired art installations. When completed, the concourse will measure 218,000 square feet and have a total of 17 gates. Like the airport's other new buildings that have been unveiled so far, the Western Concourse will be a far cry from the cramped feel of LaGuardia's old terminals, thanks to 55-foot ceilings and walls of windows
Gates on the Western Concourse are currently connected to Terminal B's recently unveiled departures and arrivals hall by a temporary walkway. First opened in June, the terminal's four-story hall includes 16 security lanes and an extensive food court with outposts of popular New York spots such as Think Coffee, Brooklyn Diner, Hill Country BBQ, Eli's Essentials by Eli Zabar, Mulberry Street by Chef Marc Forgione, and Junior's Cheesecake. The arrivals hall is also connected to the terminal's 18 gates on the Eastern Concourse that began opening in December 2018.
Terminal B serves four airlines: American, United, Southwest, and Air Canada. With the work that's been completed this summer, officials say the $5.1 billion construction of Terminal B is 80 percent finished. The rest of the Western Concourse and other areas of the terminal are slated to be unveiled through 2022.
“Today’s opening of the first seven new gates in Terminal B’s Western Concourse is part of 18 months of fast progress as we near the finish line of the complete transformation of LaGuardia Airport,” Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said in a statement. Construction has been moving "full steam ahead" amid the pandemic, Cotton said, with the latest gates opening ahead of schedule and 75 percent of the airport's roadwork finished due to the decrease in passengers this summer. That's especially good news for any travelers that remember the snaking traffic issues and other confusing logistics the construction has caused in recent years.
LaGuardia's reconstruction began in 2016, with each of the airport's old buildings completely demolished and rebuilt (except for the historic Marine Terminal, the interior of which was refurbished in early 2019). In addition to facilities at Terminal B, a new concourse and seven gates opened last October in Delta's Terminal C. Later this year, an additional 17 gates and a second concourse will also open in Terminal B, and an arrivals and departures hall for Terminal C is scheduled to open in 2022.
© Jessica Puckett
Top two images - Jeff Goldberg
Below - the airport before redevelopment began (Eric Salard)
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