LaGuardia moves (slowly) towards a new terminal
Anyone who has been stuck in LaGuardia’s central terminal building (terminal B to those young people out there) for an extended period know the limitations of the facility. Opened in 1964, its four narrow, amenity-light concourses were built for the Boeing 727 and DC-9 and before the onerous post-9/11 security checks of today.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) plans to change that.
The authority wants to replace the terminal with a new 120,774 square metre (1.3 million square foot) facility with up to 38 gates, space for a future rail station (the New York City Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are currently studying transit alternatives) and a connection to the US Airways terminal (terminal C) by 2021, according to a request for information that was released in January.
The current central terminal has 69,677 square metres and 36 gates.
(Source: Google Maps)
Susan Baer, aviation director for the PANYNJ, says that a request for qualifications will be released “by Christmas” and a request for proposals (RFP) during the first half of 2013, in an interview with Flightglobal.
The authority plans to have 30% of the design done by the first quarter of 2013 in time for the RFP, she says.
How the project moves forward from there remains a guess. The PANYNJ spent years pondering a replacement for terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport before it contracted the project and management of the terminal out to Schiphol-owned JFK International Air Terminal in 1997. Other transportation projects, including the new World Trade Centre PATH train station, are years behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget.
However, projects at PANYNJ airports have historically been completed in a much more timely manner when private partners are involved and their own balance sheets at stake. Airlines were behind the successful redevelopment of other terminals at JFK, including American Airlines’ terminal 8 and JetBlue Airways’ terminal 5, as well as ones at LaGuardia and Newark.
A new central terminal at LaGuardia cannot come soon enough. Passenger numbers are around 24 million annually and rising at the airport, while travellers continue to demand more than a few simple concessions and a barebones gate from their airports. Let’s hope that the PANYNJ can keep the new central terminal on track.
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