NEW YORK – On Friday, crews began demolition of the historic American Airlines (AA) Hangar 1 at LaGuardia International Airport (LGA). Constructed in an era when long-haul travel was only for the elite, the hangar stood for almost 90 years.

This marks the next phase in a US$8bn redevelopment of LGA, which began in 2016. For years, the aging New York hub has had its share of critics, with complaints centered around aging and unkempt facilities.

While a bright future lies ahead, passengers at LGA currently face delays as a result of heavy construction. Port Authority officials are hopeful the demolition will create additional taxiway space, at least in the short term.

A Long-Standing History

When New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia became upset after flying to Newark-Liberty (EWR), plans for New York’s first commercial airport began to take shape. AA accepted a trial offer to fly scheduled routes to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, but it failed after a short time.

American Airlines became interested in an alternative plan, which would soon become LGA in 1939. For its role in the airport’s development, AA was granted a long-term lease on four hangers–including Hangar 1.

Operated by AA for its entire lifespan, Hangar 1 saw a full evolution of commercial air travel – from the first aircraft capable of a cross-country flight to the modern jets of present.

AA began operating out of the new Terminal 2 in early June. PHOTO: American Airlines

What’s Next?

While Hangar 1 is set to be fully dismantled, Hangars 3 and 5 will live on as AA maintenance facilities. The historic facade of these buildings will be preserved and restored in partnership with AA and the New York State Historic Preservation Office.

American Airlines officially moved into its new home at LGA, the reimagined Terminal 2, back in June. The new terminal features high ceilings, updated amenities, and even a modern shopping experience.

“As one of the first tenants in LaGuardia Airport’s history, we’re excited to continue to work with American Airlines as we progress into this new, modern era for LaGuardia’s Terminal B,” said Stewart Steeves, CEO of LaGuardia Gateway Partners.

The demolition of historic Hangar 1 will pave the way for bigger and better at LGA. With plans for construction to be completed by 2022, AA will be ushering in a new generation of commercial travel at their iconic northeastern US hub.

Featured Image: American Airlines Hangars 1,3 and 5 (as seen in 2008). Photo: Shawn wiki Commons