Delta Terminal at LaGuardia
Delta is using a multiple-prime process and beginning work from the outside in. The airline will not have to take any gates out of service until new ones come online.
Getting a facelift:
"This is one of the most famous airports in the country, and for the last few decades it's been known as one of the worst airports in the country. But we're going to turn that around and make it one of the best." a Delta manager said.
For one of the world's busiest airports, a multi-billion dollar overhaul has been a long time coming.
New York's LaGuardia Airport has drawn widespread criticism for its facilities' conditions and inconsistent service, having even been likened — by more than one politician — to a "Third World Country."
Today, the airport serves nearly 30 million passengers, the majority of whom fly into and out of the Delta Air Lines terminal.
That terminal is about to get a $4 billion facelift as part of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's initiative to bring the airport's facilities to 21st century standards. As part of the deal, Delta will design, build, operate and maintain the new centralized 37-gate terminal in a lease agreement that expires in 2050. Delta has also agreed to kick in $3.4 billion, plus any cost overruns, on the project, with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey contributing the other $600 million.
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Despite having a straightforward agreement, the construction process on such a multi-layered project is anything but simple. Even before construction crews broke ground in August, project teams tasked with the high-traffic terminal's redevelopment were preparing for its unique sets of intricacies.
The overhaul, which will eventually connect the terminal to the central hall, aims to maximize gate flexibility, according to Ryan Marzullo, Delta's managing director of corporate real estate for the project. Part of that work means constructing each gate to be able to handle all of the airline's aircraft types — a new feature that could significantly reduce the amount of time passengers and aircraft operators spend waiting on the runway.
But before those ideals can become a reality, construction crews will have to navigate building the new terminal, without interrupting Delta operations to LaGuardia or interfering with the airport's central terminal renovations next door.
To do so, Marzullo said, Delta is using a multiple-prime delivery method and beginning work strategically from the outside in, beginning with the development of a former parking lot. That way, the airline doesn't have to take any gates out of service until its new ones come online.
For Marzullo, a long-time veteran of airport and airport terminal construction, the project represents more than just a high-dollar expansion.
"We get so caught up in the day-to-day and the issues and trying to keep this thing moving forward, we forget that this is really a historic project," he said. "This is one of the most famous airports in the country, and for the last few decades it's been known as one of the worst airports in the country. But we're going to turn that around and make it one of the best."
More major airport modernization projects are likely to be on the books as city officials look to accommodate — and attract — increased revenue-passenger traffic.