MIAMI — Showcasing the best of New York is only a portion of what to expect at United Airlines’ sparkling new gates at LaGuardia International Airport (LGA) for the first phase of their 1.3-million-square-foot project, which opens for business this Sunday.
The new Terminal B Eastern Concourse features local favorites that capture the essence of the Big Apple like the iconic Shake Shack, FAO Schwarz, and Irving Farm Coffee Roasters.
Nesting amongst 55-foot soaring ceilings, passengers can experience a simulated “park,” complete with greenery and benches, ample gate seating with charging stations, an airport-themed children’s play area containing a 16-foot interactive display and meanwhile not omitting the most fundamental of all modern conveniences- unlimited free high-speed Wi-fi.
Remarking the new terminal is just one key milestone of many in an expansive $8 billion dollar redevelopment planned for the entirety of the airport. Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, declared that “this is another important step in our ongoing commitment to provide world-class facilities that turn Governor Cuomo’s vision for a 21st century LaGuardia into reality.”
United Airlines will operate more than 40 daily flights out of five gates within the new terminal and joins Air Canada, Southwest, and American Airlines which also operate out of Terminal B – rounding out a functional 16 out of 18 gates, with the final two gates slated for completion in 2020.
Martinique-born and French-educated engineer-turned-fund-manager Thierry De ́au, who heads up LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the private entity in charge of the project, told Bloomberg Markets that he had the perfect fix for LaGuardia using a strategy that would produce an impactful end-result using stringent engineering practices, going as far as to incorporate the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“Whether we are talking about clean energy, resilient infrastructure, good jobs, or economic growth…we can clearly show how we contribute and quantify it over the long run,” said De ́au. “Obviously that immediately creates the focus on the outcome for the public—environmental, social, and governance issues.”
Collaboration among shareholders was also a focal point for De ́au’s team in the redesign of the airport, asserting “… a lot of thinking was done with a full focus on all the stakeholders’ interests, because if you miss a few, then you end up with the wrong design and with the wrong approach.”
Operating at full capacity and serving a large number of passengers during construction was vital to ensuring the airport’s continuity of service. “We were able to build the new central terminal before destroying the old one and then do all the concourses,” added De ́au. “That phased approach to maintaining operations while building has been critical.”
The transformation of Terminal B will continue to open in phases and includes a new 35-gate terminal, a parking garage, and a Central Hall, that will connect it to Terminal C, which is also being redeveloped.