BY BENJAMIN FANG
When LaGuardia Gateway Partners debuted the first 11 gates of the new Eastern Concourse at Terminal B last December, visitors marveled at the achievement. The concourse, now with 18 gates, is 250,000 square feet and soars up to 55 feet high.
Travelers are immediately welcomed by the natural light and a park area with greenery and benches, as well as newly designed restrooms, shops and restaurants. There’s also a new airport-themed children’s play area, including a 16-foot interactive display.
For Stewart Steeves, the CEO of LaGuardia Gateway Partners, a private organization selected by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Port Authority to operate and rebuild Terminal B, the project has transformed the guest experience in the gate area.
“We are incredibly proud of this facility,” Steeves said, “which also offers a glimpse of what you can expect to come from the overall LaGuardia redevelopment project.”
The $5.1 billion project, the largest public-private partnership in American aviation history, includes a new headhouse, the main part of the terminal, along with two concourses that feature 35 total gates. In February 2018, the 3,100-space Terminal B parking garage opened, followed by the Eastern Concourse in December.
The headhouse and Western Concourse are slated to open in 2020. One feature that guests may not be aware of is that when it’s complete, the entire terminal will be “common-use.” Steeves said that means the airlines operating out of Terminal B can use any gate, baggage claim or check-in position if needed.
In the original Terminal B, an airline could only use a gate it had specifically leased. Therefore, there may have been empty gates, but the airlines could not use them because they were leased to other airlines.
“In the new Terminal B, the common use operation will run more efficiently,” Steeves said, “resulting in a seamless experience for passengers.”
Building the new concourse, however, came with its own set of challenges. Steeves said this was “without a doubt one of the most complex aviation projects undertaken,” especially because the existing terminal remains operational as LaGuardia Gateway Partners builds the new one.
Overcoming this challenge required collaboration and coordination with their partners, the Port Authority, Skanska-Walsh and Vantage Airport Group, he said.
“To address this, the project was specifically designed to open in phases,” Steeves said. “We are building in front of, behind and even over top of the existing facility.”
LaGuardia Gateway Partners is now focusing on finishing the headhouse, which includes space for check-in, security and baggage claim, as well as the first gates of the Western Concourse.”
“2020 is an exciting year as we continue to expand on the renovations,” Steeves said