The Port Authority announced that a new customer satisfaction survey has given its airports its highest rating to date, especially at LaGuardia Airport which for decades has routinely been among the worst in the nation.
Following the $4 billion replacement of the old Central Terminal with a new Terminal B, and as Delta is poised to open its new $4 billion Terminal C, the latest survey by the Airports Council International, the industry standard, shows that the airport shot up 14% in customer approval compared with 2019.
The higher Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey results, the first published since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, incorporates traveler responses and ratings of the key customer areas of concern, including airport cleanliness, airport condition, staff courtesy, technology upgrades and access, quality of concessions, security and other amenities.
The largest individual improvement was at LaGuardia, where its Terminal B, with construction completed in January, was awarded UNESCO’s Prix Versailles as the best new airport in the world for 2021. The arrivals and departures hall for the new Delta Airlines Terminal C is scheduled to open this spring.
Meanwhile, JFK International Airport saw a 4% increase over 2019 and Newark Liberty International Airport had an increase of 5% since 2019.
“The residents of New York and New Jersey, as well as millions of visitors to our region, deserve world-class airports,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said. “That’s why we’re investing $30 billion to modernize and enhance LaGuardia, Newark Liberty and JFK and give travelers the amenities they expect and the passenger experience they demand. These improved scores speak to the progress we have made, but we are just getting started.”
As the reconstruction at LaGuardia nears the finish line, the massive transformation at JFK is underway through four separate terminal projects. In December, Governor Kathy Hochul helped to break ground on the expansion of JFK’s Terminal 4, and later that month she and the Port Authority reached an agreement with a consortium of developers to build a new Terminal A.
Last August, the Port Authority Board approved plans for a new Terminal 4 on the airport’s north side that will connect with JetBlue’s existing Terminal 5. In December, work began on the $425 million expansion of JFK’s Terminal 8, led by American Airlines, which operates the terminal, and British Airways.
“Customer satisfaction surveys at our airports used to put them at the bottom of the barrel, and we made it a top priority to dramatically change that,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said. “These highest-ever ASQ scores are a step in the right direction and comes from a relentless focus on enhancing all aspects of the customer experience, from new and cleaner bathrooms to free, high-speed WiFi and improved signage and access to ground transportation, as well as our unprecedented capital plan to build new world-class facilities at all of our airports.”