Governor Kathy Hochul and officials with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey along with Delta Air Lines cut the ribbon on LaGuardia Airport’s new Terminal C Wednesday, June 1.
The $4 billion project, which will open to the public Saturday, June 4, consolidated the former terminals C and D into one space, marking the second major piece in the state’s $8 billion, six-year overhaul of the Queens airport.
“This forever will be a point of pride for all New Yorkers, because it’s a symbol of our resiliency,” Governor Hochul said during the opening ceremony. “Every person who travels out this airport will have an extraordinary experience, unthinkable just a few years ago.”
The 1.3 million-square-foot terminal was mostly funded by Delta, with the Port Authority chipping in $500 million.
The space is 85% larger than the pair of terminals it replaced, boasting 37 gates and four concourses with concessions where the fare will be “locally inspired,” according to the governor’s office.
The light-filled air travel hall includes six artworks curated by the Queens Museum, including murals and sculptures.
The similarly-sized Terminal B opened after a $4 billion makeover in January and was also mostly funded by a consortium of private companies dubbed LaGuardia Gateway Partners, which included Vantage Airport Group, Skanska, Meridiam, and JLC Infrastructure.
Then-Governor Andrew Cuomo launched the massive reconstruction of LaGuardia Airport in 2015 to beautify the much-maligned facility.
President Joe Biden while he was still Vice President in 2014 described it as something out of a “third world country,” and on Wednesday, Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said it used to be the “most reviled airport in the nation.”
Cuomo couldn’t see the project to its completion while in office, after resigning due to mounting sexual harassment allegations against him last August, but Hochul still gave credit to the ex-governor for the project.
“My predecessor in the past administration, Governor Cuomo, who is the genesis of this, working hard as well, I want to give recognition where it is due,” Hochul said.
The plans originally included a new $2.1 billion AirTrain from the airport to Willets Point, but Hochul hit the brakes on that proposal and tasked the Port Authority with reviewing alternative options.
Critics had slammed the AirTrain as an expensive boondoggle that moved passengers the wrong way east and away from Manhattan before connecting to other public transit at the local subway and commuter railroad stations in Queens.
A Port Authority-hired expert panel is reviewing 14 alternatives, such as extending local subway lines, building light rail, bus rapid transit, or a ferry service to LaGuardia.
But leaders at the bi-state agency have kept their cards close to the chest ever since about what will happen next for a new mass transit connection to the airport.
“An enormous amount of work is underway in terms of analyzing each of the 14 alternatives,” Cotton told reporters after the Port Authority’s monthly board meeting in late April. “At this point, our goal continues to be to do this as expeditiously as possible, but I don’t think at this point I would put a date on the endpoint.”
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards was the only public official to address the AirTrain project during the Wednesday ribbon-cutting, saying he was excited for the other options, but left out the proposal to build out the N and W subway lines from Astoria to LaGuardia.
“I would not be doing my job, madam governor if I didn’t do some shameless plugs,” Richards said. “So I’m looking forward to ferry service to LaGuardia, light rail, and of course some more bus rapid transit.”