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LaGuardia redevelopment - avoiding disruption

Stewart Steeves (left), CEO of LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the consortium responsible for the redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport in New York, speaks to Passenger Terminal World about the upcoming project and its impact on ongoing operations

How does the LaGuardia redevelopment project differ from other renovations in the USA?
The project is groundbreaking in many ways. First and foremost, our approach has minimal construction phases for an accelerated schedule with the least possible disruption to any of the existing operations. In fact, when the new terminal building is complete, we will close the current facility at night and open the new building in one phase the next morning.

LaGuardia Central Terminal B will also feature dual pedestrian bridges spanning active aircraft taxi lanes that connect the terminal to two island concourses – a world’s first. Amazingly, those bridges will be built over the current terminal, which is one of the reasons there will be no impact to operations. This design also facilitates improved aircraft circulation and gate flexibility.

How will the project benefit the passenger experience?
Passenger experience is the focal point of everything we do – from an accelerated construction schedule that minimizes inconvenience and brings passengers a new terminal faster, to the terminal design with a focus on efficiency, comfort and choice. We want to build a terminal people want to fly to, from and through. In the new terminal, passengers will find that getting from curb to gate will be easier with more check-in stations and security check points to move through. Passengers can look forward to a building flooded with natural light. From architecture to conveniences, we wanted to ensure that New Yorkers get the airport they deserve.

Inside the new facility, there will be food, retail and beverage options that reflect regional and national offerings. There will be spacious and comfortable waiting areas with ample seating capacity, charging stations and children’s entertainment facilities. 

We’re excited about what is to come, but change has already started – we are investing US$5m in the existing terminal to carry out much needed maintenance and to improve the passenger experience today. During peak travel periods, we’ve even brought in the LaGuardia Central Terminal B Fun Squad – a group of improv artists to amuse and engage with passengers as they make their way through the terminal.

Right: Design rendering of one of the new pedestrian bridges connecting the terminalto the island concourses

How have past projects influenced how you approached this project?
LGP and our partners have more than 20 years’ experience in public infrastructure and airports, so there is a lot to draw from in making this project successful. In particular, we draw on the experience of Vantage Airport Group, which has developed and operated airport facilities around the world for more than 20 years. Personally I’ve worked on many projects with Vantage, most recently the Lynden Pindling International Airport redevelopment in Nassau, which was completed in 2013. It was the largest infrastructure project in the history of the Bahamas and it was amazing to see firsthand what a positive impact it had on the country and its people. This collective experience and perspective really influences how we look at Central Terminal B and how we cannot underestimate the community impact this redevelopment will have.

What feedback have you received from the industry so far?
We have received some great feedback from the industry and community on the project – our approach was hailed by the industry as extremely ambitious, innovative and unique. Central Terminal B was long overdue for this redevelopment and this is a real opportunity to think about the direction the aviation industry is moving in and to build and operate a terminal that meets the needs of passengers for decades to come.

What have been the biggest challenges?
LaGuardia is an extremely busy airport, and Central Terminal B, which was built for eight million passengers, today serves 15 million passengers annually. Building a new airport on top of a fully operational airport, which is already overcapacity, is a significant challenge.

What technologies are you including in the renovated terminals?
We’ll have the latest technology to add efficiencies throughout the terminal to meet and exceed today’s mobile passengers’ expectations. For example, we will be utilizing beacon technology to provide passengers with information including wait times for security and taxi queues. We are already testing this in the existing terminal.

What is the next significant step for the project?
The first major milestone, the demolition of the P2 parking garage, was completed in December 2016, making way for the future terminal, which will be completed in early 2020. The erection of the steel framework for the terminal will begin this spring and has already started on Concourse B. We are also looking forward to the new parking garage opening in Q1 of 2018.

March 22, 2017

 









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