Passenger facilities at LaGuardia Airport’s overhauled Terminal B are officially complete, Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York announced Thursday.
While the renovated multibillion dollar terminal has already been open for business, Thursday marks a major milestone in the completion of the project. That includes a new skybridge that makes movement to gates in the western concourse easier. It’s the airport’s second new skybridge.
Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and other local officials spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The overhaul cost $4 billion and features 35 gates, a new parking garage and “stunning” art and modern amenities, Hochul said.
In December, Terminal B received the prestigious UNESCO Prix Versailles architecture and design award in the airport category.
The terminal’s western pedestrian skybridge opens to passengers on Friday. It’s the project’s last major construction milestone, according to developer LaGuardia Gateway Partners. It makes LaGuardia the first airport in the world with dual skybridges, according to the developer and the governor.
The western skybridge spans 482 feet (147 meters), connecting the western concourse to the arrivals and departures hall. The eastern skybridge opened in June 2020.
Later this year, the rest of the original terminal building will be demolished. After that, aircraft will be able to taxi underneath the western skybridge, adding two extra miles of taxiway space to the airport.
Passengers walking in the western skybridge will have views of the Manhattan skyline. A restaurant with an outdoor terrace and views of Manhattan is planned, according to LaGuardia Gateway Partners.
The skybridges helped keep the original terminal operating during construction because they were built over the old facility.
All of Terminal B’s temporary walkways will be out of service by Saturday, a news release from the governor’s office said.
‘This is just a statement of who we are’
Adams recalled Thursday that it was “only a few years ago” when then-Vice President Joe Biden said LaGuardia resembled a facility in a “third world country.”
“If I blindfolded someone and took them at 2 o’clock in the morning into the airport in Hong Kong and said ‘where do you think you are?’ They would say, ‘this must be America. This is a modern airport,’ ” Biden said in 2014. “If I took him blindfolded and took to the LaGuardia airport in New York, you must think ‘I must be in some third world country.’ I’m not joking.”
Hochul said that President Biden would be invited to Terminal B to see the improvements made and to “show him we listened.” She said the new facility is a reflection of the state of New York’s dedication to infrastructure and economic progress.
“This is just a statement of who we are. We know we’re the best. … But sometimes you need the places to speak that loudly as well, and this place shouts it from the mountaintops,” Hochul said.
Adams said LaGuardia Airport is a “front door to our city” and the completion of Terminal B is a reflection of what New Yorkers can get done, even during their “most difficult times.”
“The way goes New York, goes America. The way goes America, goes the globe,” Adams said. “Don’t ever bet against New York City. You will lose.”
The renovation of LaGuardia has also been “built on a more equitable basis than any project previously,” in the state of New York, said Cotton, Port Authority executive director.
Cotton added that the project has awarded over $2 billion to minority and women-owned businesses, and that more than $800 million has been awarded in contracts to local businesses in the Queens borough of New York City, where the airport is located.
More than 600 local residents have also been placed in jobs at LaGuardia and more efforts are underway to create more jobs for community members, Cotton said.
Renovations on other parts of LaGuardia Airport are still ongoing. The official completion of the airport’s Terminal C, another $4 billion project, is expected sometime in spring 2022, Cotton said.
Top image: The western concourse of LaGuardia’s Terminal B. © Jeff Goldberg/Esto.
CNN’s Marnie Hunter contributed to this report.