New York’s $5.6bn plans for LaGuardia and Newark airports

It looks like the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is ready to finally move forward with some much needed terminal upgrades to New York LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports.

The operator budgeted $5.6 billion for a new central terminal at LaGuardia and a new terminal A at Newark in its proposed 10-year capital plan released on 4 January. The projects will replace existing terminal facilities at each airport.

The LaGuardia terminal will cost $3.6 billion, though the PANYNJ anticipates only spending $2.2 billion with the rest coming from a private concessionaire, and have 35 contact gates once it opens in 2021. New York State has management responsibility for the project.

Source: PANYNJ

Source: PANYNJ

The Newark terminal will cost $2 billion with the operator chipping in about three-fifths of the cost. Plans drawn up by design firm PGAL include 33 contact gates with the first phase opening in 2020 and the rest in 2022.

Source: PANYNJ

Source: PANYNJ

Both terminals could have come sooner.

“We’re going to step in and stop talking about it and get the government to work and redevelop those airports the way they should have been redeveloped many, many years ago,” said New York governor Andrew Cuomo during an address on 8 January.

The existing central terminal at LaGuardia opened in 1964 and terminal A at Newark in 1973.

But even years late, the projects bear the PANYNJ’s reputation of high costs. The LaGuardia terminal will cost about $29,808 per square metre and the Newark terminal about $21,528 per square metre under the current estimates. This compares to about $22,650 per square metre for London Heathrow’s £2.5 billion ($4.08 billion) terminal 2 or $17,043 per square metre for Los Angeles International’s $1.9 billion new Tom Bradley International terminal.

High costs or not, the projects will undoubtedly move forward as they benefit from strong support among airlines, politicians and travellers – this one included.

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