By Bill Parry
The final piece of the $8 billion LaGuardia Airport reconstruction puzzle fell into place last week when the Port Authority approved a lease through 2050 to redevelop the Delta terminals.
The Port Authority will provide $600 million in funds for the project, including $200 million toward the new Delta facilities, and the rest of the construction — $3.6 billion — will be funded privately by Delta and its partner Goldman Sachs.
“We are transforming LaGuardia into a world-class, 21st century airport of the caliber that New York deserves, and this approval ensures that the project will continue moving full steam ahead,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “Since breaking ground in June, we have made tremendous progress on building a new airport that was once thought to be impossible, restoring faith in government’s ability to get things done.”
The Port Authority approval came a day after Cuomo announced his $10 billion “vision plan,” which would transform JFK International into a unified, interconnected airport. Cuomo’s proposal includes expanded taxiways to reduce ground delays and improving road and mass-transit access to meet projected growth in demand.
The new terms of Delta’s ground lease at LaGuardia Airport include a rent abatement of up to $36.6 million, Port Authority officials said at last week’s board meeting. Delta is New York’s largest air carrier, having already invested billions in New York City airports in the last six years.
“Delta is committed to continuous investment in airport infrastructure in New York and around the world, and today’s lease approval brings LaGuardia closer to being the exceptional airport our New York customers deserve,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said.
Delta will replace Terminals C and D with a new 37-gate terminal building to the east of the Central Terminal Building, which is currently being redeveloped by LaGuardia Gateway Partners. The new Delta terminal will feature wider concourses, larger gate hold rooms and more seating.
The facility will offer direct access between the parking garage and terminal, improved roadways and drop-off and pick-up areas and a curbside check-in bypass leading directly into the security checkpoint.
The Port Authority also approved nearly $1.5 billion for Cuomo’s LaGuardia Air Train proposal, though several board members were critical of that project. But Cuomo was undeterred last week.
“New York never backs down from a challenge. Rather we step up to take on the ambitious projects that are often thought impossible,” he said. ““We are New York, and we remember the bravado that built this state in the first place.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr