LaGuardia is Slated to Get a New Central Terminal in 2021. Wanna Bet?

Some folks were surprised to see American Express build a new lounge in the Central Terminal at New York LaGuardia airport.

At the time it opened I pointed out that they have a 7 year lease on the space, and the new terminal isn’t scheduled to open until 2021… “but I don’t think anybody believes it will really happen that soon.”

Thus it’s no surprise that Airport Policy & Security News (yes, that’s a thing) reports that the Central Terminal redesign is already hitting major process snags.

On October 20th , the day before the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was to announce the winner of its competition for a $3.6 billion concession to replace the obsolescent Central Terminal at LaGuardia Airport, Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a news conference (with Vice President Joe Biden) to announce a 60-day competition offering the winners $500,000 to redesign New York’s entire airport system. The Port Authority is to manage this new competition.

Three international teams had spent about three years preparing their proposals for the LGA megaproject, while the Port Authority had developed the detailed concession agreement under which the project would take place, as well as negotiating an agreement with LGA’s airlines, spelling out their role in the project’s financing. Needless to say, this political intervention has left the bidders, as well as PA’s aviation staff, aghast.

Naturally Governor Cuomo ” did not intend to pre-empt the Port Authority’s decision on the contract …” nonetheless “he acknowledged that the best idea to come out of the open competition might involve changes to the proposal chosen by the Port Authority.”

In other words, we may wind up having to start over.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is the oldest interstate agency formed in the United States. The U.S. constitution requires approval by Congress before such agencies are formed; such approval was granted nearly 100 years ago. Until the aftermath of 9/11, the Port was considered by many to be one of the finest run government authorities in the US. The Port had billions of reserves, nearly all of which are gone now.

    As part of the original charter, the Port has exclusive authority over all infrastructure for interstate trade within 25 miles of the Statue of Liberty. (This explains the placement of the Tappan Zee Bridge, just outside of the Port’s radius.)

    While the governor is free to run whatever contests he would like and the NY governor appoints some board members and senior staff, the Port has a remarkable track record of working through political grandstanding.

    While delays on the new central terminal project are inevitable, had you done any research on the Port before posting this story, you would have concluded the delays won’t be due to this little contest.

  2. Gary just likes to blast governmental agencies. Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story (or blog post, in this case).

  3. “the Port has a remarkable track record of working through political grandstanding” Which totally explains Bridgegate and the granting of sweet contracts on the Jersey side to friends of the governor’s friends who sat on the board (or even co-chaired it!). Or the issuing of bonds for a project that has nothing to do with access to Port Authority bridges and tunnels. The Port Authority has become a cesspool of political cronyism and scandal on one side of the river. Wait until the FBI brings down its indictments next year.

  4. @Billy wrote, “had you done any research on the Port before posting this story, you would have concluded the delays won’t be due to this little contest.”

    No, the delays will be the result of stacking a multitude of things like this. As you say, “delays on the new central terminal project are inevitable” which makes my point 100%.

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