Plans to Modernize at New York’s LaGuardia

By | November 6, 2006

LaGuardia AirportThe New York Daily News reports that officials at the Port Authority, which runs the three New York area airports, are considering a billion dollar rebuild of LaGuardia Airport’s Central Terminal Building. The building is the second oldest of the terminals, surpassed only by the airport’s original terminal, now known as the Marine Air Terminal. However, the 1964 Terminal is narrow, cramped, crowded, and dimly lit.

A fifteen million dollar planning study to modernize the facility is scheduled to be completed early next year. Assuming plans go forward, construction could begin by 2010 and be done by 2017. The study proposes knocking down the old Delta and TWA hangers in between the Central Terminal and the US Airways Terminal to build four more modern concourses.

Concourses would be constructed one by one, allowing four concourses to be open at all times to ensure construction does not disrupt flights. As each new concourse was opened, an old one would be closed and demolished. It would be one of the most complicated and most expensive in airline history. However, the facility is not even on par with similar facilities at other airports, even New York’s JFK airport, which contains several buildings built in the same era.

Last month, the Queens Ledger reported that the FAA had given final approval for a sixty-two million dollar plan for a new air traffic control tower at the airport. The structure of the forty-two year old tower is physically falling apart and leaks water. The new tower would include a category II Instrument Approach which will allow aircraft to land during periods of terribly inclement weather. Overall, the new tower will reduce delays and increase safety, something the airport’s recent record indicates it desperately needs.