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New York’s La Guardia Airport set for $4bn overhaul

New York governor Cuomo has been joined by US vice president Joe Biden to unveil the vision for the comprehensive redesign of LaGuardia Airport.

Under the plans, the airport will be transformed into a single, structurally unified main terminal with expanded transportation access, significantly increased taxiway space and best-in-class passenger amenities.

Construction on the first half of the new unified terminal, expected to be a $4 billion project that creates 8,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs, will be managed by LaGuardia Gateway Partners, a new public private partnership chosen by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to build the project.

Construction on the first half will begin upon final approval from the Board of Directors of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

That approval is expected in the first part of 2016.

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, which has indicated strong support for the new vision, and anticipates beginning the redevelopment of its terminals on a parallel track with the LaGuardia Gateway Partners project to complete the new unified airport.

“New York had an aggressive, can-do approach to big infrastructure in the past – and today, we’re moving forward with that attitude once again,” said governor Cuomo.

“We are transforming LaGuardia into a globally-renowned, 21st century airport that is worthy of the city and state of New York.

“It’s the perfect metaphor for what we can achieve with the ambition and optimism and energy that made this the Empire State in the first place, and I want to thank our many partners for joining us to build the airport that New York deserves.”

The recommendation for a single, unified terminal is included in a sweeping LaGuardia redesign, developed by the Governor’s Airport Master Plan Advisory Panel, and released earlier.

LaGuardia’s current terminal layout, comprised of multiple, fragmented terminals, will be replaced by one main, architecturally unified terminal.

This will be accomplished by demolishing the existing Terminal B building, which is operated by the Port Authority, and replacing it with a larger structure, located closer to the Grand Central Parkway, which will include new terminal space and a new Central Arrivals and Departures Hall, and will link to Delta’s Terminals C and D.

This represents the western half of the new structurally unified terminal.

The eastern half of the new unified terminal will be constructed on a parallel track by Delta Air Lines redeveloping its existing Terminals closer to the Grand Central Parkway and connecting them to the new Central Arrivals and Departures Hall.

Delta Air Lines is strongly supportive of this plan, and will move forward with the Panel’s recommendations in parallel with the construction schedule for the new space and Central Hall.

To utilise LaGuardia’s geographic footprint more efficiently, the new terminal facility will be built closer to the Grand Central Parkway.

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.

This allows for a more efficient circulation of aircraft and reduced taxi-in and taxi-out times, which will yield shorter and fewer gate delays – a dramatic difference from today’s LaGuardia.

In addition, this change will produce overall reduction in carbon emissions from idling aircraft.