LGA’s New Terminal B is Open for Business

By Alana Calmi, Media Relations Staff

Nearly four years since the start of construction, the main Arrivals and Departure Hall at LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B has opened its doors to passengers.

Travelers will be greeted with a roomy, 850,000-square-foot, four-story Terminal B Arrivals and Departures Hall providing the 21st-century airport experience New York deserves. They  will find four check-in islands with an additional 75 individual check-in kiosks for self-service options.

The terminal offers many local food and beverage concessions in a New York-inspired shopping district. The centralized food hall features 17 retail, food, and beverage shops, including local city favorites like Eli Zabar, Junior’s Cheesecake, and Think Coffee. With 95 percent of concessions post-security, travelers can take their time getting to the gate once through the security checkpoint.

 “Today’s opening should be a shining symbol of the region’s potential for a strong economic recovery with the vitality of New York before COVID-19,” Executive Director Rick Cotton said during Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

The spectacular new facility is the answer to traveling concerns of so many passengers.

Worried about getting through TSA with time to spare? Don’t sweat it. Terminal B is now home to 16 security screening lanes — three times the space of the old security checkpoints. The dynamic signage in the TSA queue provides passenger wait times and allows queue zones to be adjusted based on passenger demand.

Need a restroom? There are now 17 spacious, touch-free restrooms, with free-touch sinks and hand dryers, as well as hand-sanitizing stations strategically placed throughout the terminal, combined creates greater opportunities for social distancing when compared to the old Terminal B.

The new hall also showcases permanent public art installations curated by the Public Art Fund, enhancing the passenger experience and underscoring New York’s global position as a beacon for arts and culture. Installations were done by artists Jeppe Hein, Sabine Hornig, Laura Owens, and Sarah Sze.

There are behind-the-scene enhancements, too— more than 3.2 miles of conveyer belt was constructed to sort and move 3,250 bags per hour. Checked baggage is transported through the new baggage handling and screening system. The first-of-its- kind “Natural Feature Navigation” system uses artificial intelligence to guide mobile inspection tables safely through the baggage screening facility. Previous models used floor tracks, magnetic tape, or wire guides, but this new system can adapt as LGA accommodates the next generation of air travel.

But what about all that traffic? Access in and out of LaGuardia Airport will be smoother and less frustrating than before. The redevelopment significantly improved traffic flow by eliminating 19  of 22 on-airport traffic lights, with 9.2 miles of new roadways and 24 new bridges. Airside traffic will also be reduced with 50 percent more taxiway space.

Additionally, two first-ever skybridges spanning active aircraft taxi lanes connect passengers from the new terminal to the new gates in its two concourses. As travelers walk over the skybridge, they can admire planes moving about the tarmac and under the skybridge.

Skybridge to gates in Eastern Concourse

Courtney Quinn and Mike Narvarez were two of the first passengers to deplane the first arriving flight at the new Terminal B. They live in Washington, D.C. but were familiar with the old, decrepit Terminal B. The original Terminal B opened on April 17, 1964 and was revered at the time as a Gateway to America.

“The airport looks great, we’re super impressed,” Quinn said. “There aren’t many domestic terminals of this size, and the interior aesthetic is striking.” Added Narvarez: “It’s a big upgrade, truly spectacular sight to see. And I’m loving the subway tile mosaic on the wall.”

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[VIDEO] Historic opening by Governor Cuomo of new Arrivals and Departures Hall at LaGuardia’s Terminal B

Yesterday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo cut the ribbon on the brand-new, state-of-the-art Terminal B Arrivals and Departures Hall at LaGuardia Airport, the biggest milestone to date in the airport’s ongoing $8 billion transformation into a unified 21st century facility. The spacious, 850,000-square-foot, four-story Terminal B Arrivals and Departures Hall will provide travelers with the modern airport experience New York deserves and feature local concessions, large, touch-free restrooms and a New York-inspired shopping district. The new Arrivals and Departures Hall also showcases permanent public art installations curated by the Public Art Fund, enhancing the passenger experience and underscoring New York’s global position as a beacon for arts and culture.

The new Terminal B will open to the public on Saturday, June 13th and serve American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Air Canada. By virtue of its size, the terminal presents greater opportunities to move passengers more safely and efficiently with improved distancing during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, including more space for check-in, security and baggage claim, along with new innovations in contactless technology and an increased focus on cleanliness and disinfection.

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Connecting Flights: How PA Airports Get Stranded Flyers Home

By Cheryl Albiez, Media Relations Staff

Amidst international travel restrictions over the coronavirus pandemic, travelers from various parts of the world who have found themselves stranded across the region can now go home through repatriation flights organized by airlines operating through Newark Liberty and John F. Kennedy International airports. 

At Newark Liberty, the Terminal B operations team has played a key support role for these repatriation efforts. Nearly 1,800 passengers have been able to fly back to their home countries on Ethiopian, Air India and Pakistan International Airlines. 

One of the most involved efforts has been the Vande Bharat mission – India’s massive repatriation operation after the country suspended all international travel in March before going into lock down to curb Covid-19 infections. Earlier this month, the repatriation effort from Newark began the process of returning hundreds of Indian citizens to their homeland. 

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Port Authority Terminal B Operations staff were on site to assist Air India with the repatriation flights

Arranging repatriation flights to countries where flying has been restricted has its own set of complexities. But it was the airport community’s strong partnership that made managing these challenges possible.

Unlike commercial flights, repatriation flights are planned in only a few short days, or even hours. U.S. and foreign government and embassy officials both at home and abroad work with Newark’s Terminal B operations staff, Port Authority Police (PAPD), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in helping the airlines ensure citizens are able to get home.

“The airport is operating under compelling circumstances,” said Tom Bock, Newark Liberty’s Operations Manager. “Those involved have specific roles which have to be closely coordinated with other partners in both front and back-end logistics.”

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Flight plans are established and coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration and Customs & Border Protection to operate these unscheduled flights. The airlines not only have to secure necessary approvals amid the current international restrictions, but manage crew scheduling, particularly with the new screening protocols for flight crews eligible to work on these flights.   

Terminal B staff worked with the respective airlines to secure gates and provide staff to support planning and execution, as well as coordinate the customer experience aspects of the operation.   

In the latest wave of repatriation flights, the Newark Liberty Airport community worked seamlessly to repatriate over 600 citizens to India this month on two B777 aircraft. The mission began May 7 and is ongoing, with an additional flight departing on June 7.

“Working together was critical to ensuring the success of these repatriation flights”, said Brian Rohlf, Terminal B’s International Operations Manager. “With strong communication from the airlines and a proactive approach to meet a short planning timeline, it all came together with very happy Indian citizens flying back home.” 

With health and safety on the top of mind, Terminal B staff and PAPD were onsite to assist passengers with social distancing. For the Air India flights, representatives of the Consulate of India and an onsite physician were present to assist Indian citizens and take temperature readings of all those traveling home. Only asymptomatic passengers are permitted to board the flights. 

TSA coordinated with the airline regarding the number of passengers to ensure adequate staffing for screening lanes and baggage processing. CBP arrived in full protective gear to medically process arriving passengers safely and quickly while maintaining social distancing protocols. Several other repatriation flights are scheduled at both Newark and JFK through other airlines.

Travelers seeking information regarding repatriation flights are encouraged to register for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. For additional information regarding potential flights home can be found through the Department of State

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