New York's Laguardia Airport, my favorite (but it don't get no respect) has taken a big step toward its major upgrade with the selection of a developer consortium that will design, build and operate a new terminal to handle double the passengers with double the shops and restaurants as well.
The consortium, which includes a major builder and two big banks, will work with the Port Authority of NY and NJ, the airport operator, to design and build the new terminal. In return for putting up 2/3 of the $3.6 billion cost, the partners will be given a 35-year lease to operate and profit from the new terminal. Completion is set for 2021, but experts are already saying "don't hold your breath for that date."
Laguardia is the smallest and closest in of New York's three airports, with its runways extending out into Long Island Sound. In the past year, the Port Authority has discussed removing some of its flight limitations to allow better connections to international flights.
Terminal B, known as the Central Terminal, is just over 50 years old; it opened in time for the New York World's Fair, and was designed to eventually handle 8 million passengers a year; recently it has been handling 13 million, with the added burden of post 9/11 security screening as well. Another issue, not addressed in the new contract but being worked on as well, is the airport's need for a connection to the city's rail and subway systems.
In addition to Terminal B, which will be replaced as construction takes place, the airport has three other terminals. The historic Terminal A, known as the Marine Air Terminal, serves Delta's shuttle and some regional flights; it was originally the base for PanAm's Clippers, flying boats that opened early overwater routes. Terminal C was built for Eastern and Terminal D for Delta. C, which was used for a number of years by USAir, is now Delta's also.
MORE details on the new contract.