New LaGuardia Airport design/Photo via LaGuardia Gateway Partners
In 2014, Vice President Joe Biden famously likened LaGuardia airport to what one would find in a “third world country.” Now, two years later, the airport is finally getting a facelift from the ground up. Yesterday, Biden, along with Governor Andrew Cuomo, attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the start of the airport’s renovations, which will be managed by the airport’s private-public partner, LaGuardia Gateway Partnership.
LaGuardia airport was built between 1937 and 1939, and was named for the former mayor of New York, Fiorello LaGuardia. The current airport features a “history of flight” mural in its oldest wing, the Marine Air Terminal, where planes once landed by sea. Artist James Brooks was commissioned to create the WPA piece, which was misinterpreted as Communist Propaganda in the 1950s.
Rendering of plans for LaGuardia’s interior – Photo via Flickr/Governor Andrew Cuomo
Customers have complained about the poor quality of the airport’s facilities and services. The Global Gateway Alliance found in a report that only 68 percent of flights departed on time from LaGuardia as of June 2016. The GGA also said that the airport was one of the most difficult to access by public transportation and that it lacks amenities like free wi-fi access.
Cuomo says that the new renovations will help New York “get its mojo back” and promises that New Yorkers will be getting “a whole new airport.” The reconstruction will include an AirTrain that transports customers between each terminal and brings them from the airport to Manhattan, and the Long Island Rail Road. Other improvements include a new parking garage, a 1.3 million square foot, 35-gate terminal and increased space for taxis picking up and dropping off passengers. Despite the extensive renovations, travel will not be interrupted and airport customers will be able to use LaGuardia.
Rendering of LaGuardia airport – Photo via Flickr/Governor Andrew Cuomo
The project is estimated to be $4 billion and the reconstruction on the airport is expected to be complete in 2021.