Ten years ago, the idea of building a new LaGuardia - while keeping the existing airport running - seemed nearly impossible.
But earlier, Delta Air Lines unveiled its first new concourse at the airport, a 105,000-square-foot showpiece.
Customers will walk for the first time into the bright and spacious concourse in what will become Delta’s Terminal C, marking a major milestone in the $8 billion transformation of the airport.
The opening of the first new concourse and seven gates at Delta’s new terminal, on the far eastern side of the airport, was celebrated at an event attended by New York governor Andrew Cuomo, Queens Borough president Melinda Katz, and representatives of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Delta chief executive, Ed Bastian, said: “Two years ago, we set out to build a state-of-the-art facility at LaGuardia Airport, an airport that our customers and the people of New York deserve.
“Thanks to the commitment and hard work of the Delta team and our many partners, today marks the beginning of a new era for millions of Delta customers at LaGuardia.
“The excitement that is building here is palpable and contagious, and we are already looking ahead to many more milestones to come.”
This opening is the latest milestone in the complete rebuild of LaGuardia, which will provide a world-class passenger experience featuring modern customer amenities, state-of-the-art architecture, more spacious gate areas and a connected terminal system.
Delta’s state-of-the-art concourse will feature dining from hospitality group OTG inspired by local favourites including H&H Bagels, Rossi Pizzeria (from Chef Mark Iacono of Lucali), Flatiron Tavern & Provisions (from chefs Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer of King), Birch Coffee and Juice Press.
The new gate areas provide more seating and ample outlets for charging devices, and respite spaces for passengers to rest.
When complete, the new terminal will feature 37 gates across four concourses connected by a centralized and streamlined check-in lobby, security checkpoint, and baggage claim; dual taxiways that will help reduce hold outs and taxi times; a new, larger Delta Sky Club with a Sky Deck; larger gate areas and more concessions space; and more efficient airport roadways.
Cuomo praised Delta’s vision and said: “I remember when I got off the phone [with Bastian], I said I understood why this man is the chief executive of Delta.
“This is a leader, this is a man with a vision, this is a man of courage, and he stepped up to the plate with one hand.”
At the new concourse, Delta has incorporated digital wayfinding signs to provide customers guidance and added hearing loop technology.
Delta operates more than 275 peak-day departures from its LGA hub and began construction on the $4 billion replacement of Terminals C and D in 2017, building on the airline’s extensive investment in New York airports over the past decade.