New Hall Opens with Advanced Security Protocols and COVID-19 Safety Protocols in Place
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the opening of the $8 billion brand-new, state-of-the-art Terminal B Arrivals and Departures Hall at LaGuardia Airport, as part of the airport’s ongoing transformation into a unified 21st century facility.
The project – one of the largest public private partnerships in aviation history – includes the demolition and replacement of every terminal and concourse except for the historically landmarked Marine Air Terminal.
The spacious, 850,000-square-foot, four-story Terminal B Arrivals and Departures Hall will provide New York’s travelers with a 21st century airport experience that includes local concessions, large, modern restrooms and a New York-inspired shopping district. The new Arrivals and Departures Hall also showcases permanent public art installations curated by the Public Art Fund, enhancing the passenger experience and underscoring New York’s global position as a beacon for arts and culture.
The new Terminal B will open to the public on Saturday, June 13th and serve American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Air Canada. By virtue of its size, the terminal presents greater opportunities to move passengers more safely and efficiently with improved distancing during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, including more space for check-in, security and baggage claim, along with new innovations in contactless technology and an increased focus on cleanliness and disinfection.
“The opening of the new Arrivals and Departures Hall at Terminal B is the biggest milestone to date in the transformation of LaGuardia Airport into a world-class transportation hub that is worthy of New York State,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we continue to upgrade and modernize this airport for the 21st century, this new state-of-the-art hall will offer passengers a unique travel experience with new concessions, traveler amenities and art installations by four of the world’s leading artists, while increasing space for passengers to move more safely and efficiently during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The opening of the new arrivals and departures hall follows the openings of the new Terminal B parking garage in February 2018, the first new gates and concourse in Terminal B in December 2018, and the first new gates and concourse in Terminal C in October 2019.
A New Terminal B Experience
With today’s opening, arriving at and departing from LaGuardia’s Terminal B will be an entirely transformed experience. The new Terminal B departures level is dramatically larger and offers four check-in islands with 75 individual check-in kiosks and a central oversize bag check-in station. There are 16 designated security lanes – three times the space for security checks. Dynamic signage in the TSA queue displays passenger wait times and allows queue zones to be adjusted based on passenger demand.
Security screening at LaGuardia’s new Terminal B now includes three state-of-the-art technology systems to expedite screening while prioritizing the safety of passengers. Checked baggage is screened more efficiently using an Artificial Intelligence-based, robotic assisted convenience system which quickly troubleshoots and diverts high-risk baggage for deeper inspection. Passengers with carry-on baggage will notice a new automated bin sequencing and retrieval system as they go through the TSA check point. New body screening and metal detecting equipment is user friendly, has larger screening areas that eliminate the need to raise arms overhead and features the most advanced imaging technology.
At the arrivals level, nine new large baggage carrousels offer additional space for distancing at baggage pick up.
There are 17 new large bathrooms across the new Arrivals and Departures Hall, featuring touch-free entry, sinks and hand dryers, to create greater opportunities for distancing when compared to the old Central Terminal Building.
The terminal is now be home to an outstanding variety of concessions including many familiar businesses that are located in New York. To enable customers to shop and dine while waiting for their flights, concessions are centralized post-security in a main commercial district of the new Arrivals and Departures Hall with 17 best-in-class retail, food and beverage amenities. Local favorites like Eli’s Essentials by New York food legend Eli Zabar, Chef Marc Forgione’s new Mulberry Street restaurant, Junior’s Cheesecake, Brooklyn Diner, Think Coffee, Tony + Benny’s Authentic Brooklyn Pizza, Hill Country, Texas-themed BBQ founded in NYC, NYC Aglow and Bowery Bay Shops offer locals and tourists a taste of New York.
The new Arrivals and Departures Hall comes to life through four permanent public art installations commissioned by Public Art Fund in partnership with LaGuardia Gateway Partners. Artists Jeppe Hein, Sabine Hornig, Laura Owens, and Sarah Sze have created four pieces designed specifically for the new facility which speak to the enduring spirit, sense of wonder and vitality that New York embodies.
All areas of the terminal are being cleaned to the highest CDC cleaning standards. High touch surface cleaning teams are on-site and visible by the branded vests they wear. There is digital signage throughout the terminal displaying COVID-19 related safety measures including the face covering requirement, distancing guidance and reminders to wash hands frequently. TSA officers will wear face masks and follow strict procedures about glove use and sanitization when handling passenger baggage. Contactless food ordering and delivery is available using the At Your Gate App.
LGP and the Port Authority continue to test the latest technology to prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19, including testing touchless technology at SITA Check in Counters and UV cleaning technology on escalator handrails.
LaGuardia Redevelopment Plan
In 2015, Governor Cuomo first unveiled his vision for the comprehensive redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport. Under his plan, a whole new LGA will provide a world-class, 21st century passenger experience featuring modern customer amenities, state-of-the-art architecture, more spacious gate areas and a unified terminal system. The $8 billion project, two-thirds of which is funded through private financing and existing passenger fees, broke ground four years ago this week in 2016.
In February 2018, the new Terminal B parking garage opened with over 3,000 spaces and a dedicated level for Uber, Lyft and other for-hire car services. In December 2018, the first 18 new gates and the first new concourse in Terminal B opened. Terminal B’s second new concourse with 17 new gates will open in phases beginning later this year. In October 2019, the Governor opened the first new concourse and seven new gates at Delta Air Lines’ new Terminal C on the eastern side of the airport. A modern arrivals and departures hall at Terminal C will open in 2022 with the phased opening of three additional concourses.
Also in October of last year, the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners formally authorized the funding needed, pending completion of the FAA’s independent environmental review, to develop the new AirTrain LGA. With Governor Cuomo’s key support, the long-awaited AirTrain LGA is on track to take its place at a new world-class LaGuardia Airport that will no longer be the only major East Coast airport without a rail link. AirTrain LGA would connect the airport with a new station at Willets Point and get travelers out of their cars and steadily reduce traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.
Overall, the LaGuardia project is expected to generate $10 billion in economic activity and $2.5 billion in wages over the life of the project. As of the opening of the new Terminal B arrivals and departures hall, LaGuardia Airport contracts with certified minority and women-owned businesses, or MWBE, have now exceeded $1.4 billion. To date, the project has met Governor Cuomo’s goal of 30 percent MWBE participation.
Following Governor Cuomo’s vision for A Whole New LGA, the Port Authority is working hand in hand with local elected officials, stakeholders and Queens residents to ensure local businesses, MWBEs and jobseekers take advantage of new opportunities as part of LaGuardia Airport’s redevelopment and economic growth. Since the beginning of the project, more than $560 million in contracts was awarded to local businesses based in Queens.
In April 2019, Governor Cuomo announced the opening of the new Council for Airport Opportunity (CAO) office in Corona, in partnership with two community-based organizations. CAO provides airport-related recruitment and job placement services to minority and disadvantaged residents in Queens. In December 2019, the permanent LaGuardia Redevelopment office opened to the public providing airport-related recruitment and job placement services to minority and disadvantaged residents in Queens.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has also partnered with Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Queens and funded 11 full-tuition scholarships for students from local communities to attend Vaughn College. The LaGuardia Redevelopment Program has also partnered with the Queens Public Library to offer a STEM education program for local middle-school students, now in its second year.
The new unified airport offering the 21st century customer experience New Yorkers deserve is being built while maintaining operations at the existing airport. As new facilities are completed, old facilities are demolished, ensuring the airport never loses capacity. Even during peak construction, LaGuardia continued to set new records for passenger volume. Eight of the airport’s 12 busiest days on record occurred last summer when terminal and roadway work was at its apex. In 2019, LaGuardia served over 31 million passengers, a 3.1 percent increase over the previous record passenger volume handled in 2018.