In the latest sign that the first phase of LaGuardia Airports reconstruction is nearing completion, the new taxiway was used for the first time on Thursday, May 20.
LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the private entity managing and redeveloping the $4 billion Terminal B, announced that passengers aboard Southwest Flight 617 to Tampa were the first to taxi under the new eastern pedestrian skybridge while travelers awaiting their flights were able to watch as aircraft taxied right underneath them.
“As the region begins to reopen, a whole new LaGuardia Airport continues to move forward creating a world-class airport experience for travelers,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said. “Today marks a unique and important milestone. The innovative design of the airport provides a 50% increase in aircraft taxiways that will dramatically decrease gate congestion and gate delays, greatly reducing a major source of frustration for passengers. Passengers utilize pedestrian skybridges over an active taxiway to get to their gates which allows for the more efficient movement of aircraft. And upon completion of Terminal B, the new LGA will be the world’s only airport with dual skybridges.”
The completed skybridge is 430 feet long and it reaches a height of 97 feet over the taxiway. The eastern skybridge connects the Arrivals & Departures Hall — which opened in June 2020 — directly to the eastern concourse gates.
“Today we’re taking a major step towards our first-in-the-world dual pedestrian bridges, giving New Yorkers another reason to be proud of LaGuardia Terminal B as the gateway of the city,” LaGuardia Gateway Partners CEO Stewart Steeves said.
When construction of the new 1.3 million-square-foot Terminal B is fully complete, LaGuardia will be the only airport in the world with dual skybridges. The design of the skybridges allows for two extra miles of taxiway space. The second skybridge, scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, will connect the western concourse to the Arrivals & Departures Hall, offering pedestrians a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline.
“Since LaGuardia Airport is the base for Southwest’s New York City operations, we were honored to mark today’s milestone by operating the first flight under LaGuardia Terminal B’s skybridge via the new taxiway,” Southwest Airlines Airport Affairs Regional Leader Mike Gillock said. “Southwest’s customers and employees continue to share wonderful feedback about the world-class facility that LaGuardia Gateway Partners has developed, and we appreciate our ongoing partnership with LaGuardia Gateway Partners and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as we welcome Southwest customers to New York City and Terminal B.”
The Terminal B redevelopment is now more than 85 percent complete with the new Arrivals & Departures Hall, eastern concourse, and parking garage all open. The first half of the western concourse is also open, with the remaining gates on track to open in 2022.