LaGuardia Airport

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LaGuardia Airport
LGA Airport Logo.png
LaGuardia Airport.JPG
Summary
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorPort Authority of New York and New Jersey
ServesNew York metropolitan area
LocationEast Elmhurst, Queens, New York, U.S.
Opened2 December 1939 (1939-12-02)
Hub for
Elevation AMSL21 ft / 6 m
Coordinates40°46′30″N 73°52′30″W / 40.77500°N 73.87500°W / 40.77500; -73.87500Coordinates: 40°46′30″N 73°52′30″W / 40.77500°N 73.87500°W / 40.77500; -73.87500
Websitelaguardiaairport.com
Maps
FAA diagram
FAA diagram
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
04/22 7,001 2,134 Asphalt/concrete
13/31 7,003 2,135 Asphalt/concrete
Helipads
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 60 18 Asphalt
H2 60 18 Asphalt
Statistics (2020)
Aircraft operations138,855
Passengers8,245,192

LaGuardia Airport (IATA: LGA, ICAO: KLGA, FAA LID: LGA) /ləˈɡwɑːrdiə/ is a civil airport in East Elmhurst, Queens, New York City. Covering 680 acres (280 ha) as of 24 August 2022,[2] the facility was established in 1929 and began operating as a public airport in 1939. It is named after former New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia.

The airport primarily accommodates airline service to domestic (and limited international) destinations. As of 2019, it was the third-busiest airport in the New York metropolitan area behind JFK and Newark airports, and the twenty-first busiest in the United States by passenger volume.[3] While the airport is a hub for both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, commercial service is strictly governed by unique regulations including a curfew, a slot system, and a "perimeter rule" prohibiting most nonstop flights to or from destinations greater than 1,500 miles (2,400 km).[4]

Throughout the 2000s and 2010s, LaGuardia was notable for having obsolete and dirty facilities, inefficient air operations, and poor customer service metrics.[5][6] Responding to these criticisms, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) in 2015 announced a multibillion-dollar reconstruction of the airport's passenger infrastructure, which is expected to be complete by 2025.[7]

History[edit]

Original site[edit]

Natural coastline circa 1866
Coastline of northwest Queens, circa 1866.

Prior to human development, the coastlines of Bowery Bay and Flushing Bay converged at a natural point that comprised the eventual northern shoreline of Newtown, Queens. By 1857 the area partially contained the estate of Benjamin Pike Jr., which was soon purchased and consolidated with other property by William Steinway.[8] In June 1886, Steinway opened a summer resort development known as Bowery Bay Beach on the peninsula. Originally featuring a bathing pavilion, beach, lawns, and boathouse, the resort was renamed North Beach and later expanded with the addition of Gala Amusement Park.[9][10] By the turn of the century, North Beach's German-influenced development drew comparisons to Brooklyn's Coney Island. Its fortunes would soon turn, however, as Prohibition in the United States and war-related anti-German sentiment presented significant challenges to the resort's profitability. These factors, combined with increased industrialization and pollution of the Queens waterfront, made the area untenable as a leisure destination, and it was abandoned at some point in the 1920s.

North Beach Airport[edit]

In April 1929, New York Air Terminals, Inc. announced plans to open a private seaplane base at North Beach later that summer.[11] The 200-acre (81 ha) facility was christened on June 15 and initially featured a 2-acre (0.81 ha) concrete plateau connected to the water by a 400 ft (120 m) amphibious aircraft ramp, with the former resort converted to a passenger terminal. Opening-day festivities for the new airport were attended by a crowd of 5,000, and included Air Races with Curtiss Seagulls and Sikorsky flying boats, a dedication address by Borough President George U. Harvey, and the commencement of airline service to Albany and Atlantic City by Coastal Airways and Curtiss Flying Service.[12] One month later, service to Boston was launched using Savoia-Marchetti S.55 aircraft operated by Airvia.[13]

Glenn H. Curtiss Airport[edit]

By 1930, the airport had been improved with hangars and night-illuminated runways,[14] and it housed seaplanes of the recently reorganized New York City Police Department Aviation Unit.[15][16] On September 23 the site was renamed Glenn H. Curtiss Airport in honor of the New York aviation pioneer who had died one month earlier (not to be confused with the preexisting Curtiss Field in nearby Garden City, nor a similarly renamed airport in Valley Stream). In a ceremony that same day, representatives from the forerunner to Trans World Airlines announced their bid to establish the nation's first transcontinental airmail route to the airport using Ford Trimotors; in attendance were Eleanor Roosevelt and Charles Lindbergh.[17]

On August 27, 1931, the airport welcomed the arrival of the world's then-largest airplane, the Dornier Do X, after a 10-month transatlantic journey.[18] Over 18,000 people visited the huge flying boat on its first day of static display,[19] and it remained in the city for 9 months.[20] While the Do X was ultimately a commercial failure, its presence demonstrated the viability of long-distance air travel terminating a mere 20-minute drive from Manhattan. Likewise, this centralized location also enabled the airport to host hourly air taxi services between Newark and Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field that September.[21]

While Curtiss Field was quickly becoming a magnet of aviation, Newark Airport remained the primary terminal for New York City-bound passengers and mail. The city's lack of its own central airport lingered as the 1930s wore on—especially as discussion grew regarding the commercial viability of privately operated fields.[22]

Municipal Airport 2[edit]

Poster from the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, circa 1936–1937, advertising the municipal airports of New York.
Works Progress Administration poster advertising the newly built air terminals of New York City.

The 1934 election of mayor Fiorello La Guardia ushered in a new era of public investment in New York City's airports. Mayor LaGuardia had been a long-time aviation advocate; in a 1927 editorial penned while serving as a US Representative of New York, he criticized both the federal and state governments' slow progress in establishing municipal airports in the city. Although several potential sites had been identified, LaGuardia mainly pushed for the transformation of Governors Island into a combined airport and seaplane base. "No greater monument to the life and activity of the Republic can be imagined," he wrote, painting it as a teeming transportation hub at the extreme center of the city.[23] Military and shipping concerns eventually shut down the proposal,[24][25] but LaGuardia and industry leaders maintained consensus that New York City needed a central "express" airport to complement the farther-flung Floyd Bennett Field, which it completed in 1930.[26][27]

While the Governors Island proposal was being litigated, LaGuardia also saw development potential in Curtiss Airport. Under his administration, the City entered a 5-year contract with its owners, agreeing to lease the field for $1 per year, with an option to purchase the property for $1,500,000 (equivalent to $29,291,367 in 2021).[28] The airport was officially dedicated Municipal Airport 2 on January 5, 1935. At a key ceremony that day, LaGuardia also received a signed lease from TWA for hangar space at Floyd Bennett Field—making it the first major US airline to serve New York City directly.[29] While it would still be years before TWA arrived at North Beach, LaGuardia had begun fulfilling one of his ultimate goals: extracting New York City from "the humiliating position of seeing all its passengers and mail traffic go to a near-by state."[28]

LaGuardia Airport[edit]

The initiative to develop the airport for commercial flights began with an outburst by New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia (in office from 1934 to 1945) upon the arrival of his TWA flight at Newark Airport – the only commercial airport serving the New York City region at the time – as his ticket said "New York". He demanded to be taken to New York, and ordered the plane to be flown to Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field, giving an impromptu press conference to reporters along the way. He urged New Yorkers to support a new airport within their city.[30]

American Airlines accepted LaGuardia's offer to start a trial program of scheduled flights to Floyd Bennett, although the program failed after several months because Newark's airport was closer to Manhattan. La Guardia went as far as to offer police escorts to airport limousines in an attempt to get American Airlines to continue operating the trial program.

Sign at runway 13 warning pilots to check compass

During the Floyd Bennett experiment, LaGuardia and American executives began an alternative plan to build a new airport in Queens, where it could take advantage of the new Queens–Midtown Tunnel to Manhattan. The existing North Beach Airport was an obvious location, but much too small for the sort of airport that was being planned. With backing and assistance from the Works Progress Administration, construction began in 1937, it is on the waterfront of Flushing and Bowery Bays in East Elmhurst and borders the neighborhoods of Astoria and Jackson Heights.[31] Building on the site required moving landfill from Rikers Island, then a garbage dump, onto a metal reinforcing framework. The framework below the airport still causes magnetic interference on the compasses of outgoing aircraft: signs on the airfield warn pilots about the problem.[32]

Because of American's pivotal role in the development of the airport, LaGuardia gave the airline extra real estate during the airport's first year of operation, including four hangars, which was an unprecedented amount of space at the time.[33] American opened its first Admirals Club (and the first private airline club in the world) at the airport in 1939.[34] The club took over a large office space that had previously been reserved for the mayor, but he offered it for lease following criticism from the press, and American vice president Red Mosier immediately accepted the offer.[35]

Eleanor Roosevelt at LaGuardia, 1960

The airport was dedicated on October 15, 1939, as the New York Municipal Airport,[36][37] and opened for business on December 2 of that year.[30] It cost New York City $23 million to turn the tiny North Beach Airport into a 550-acre (220 ha) modern facility. Not everyone was as enthusiastic as La Guardia about the project; some critics regarded it as a $40 million boondoggle. But the public was fascinated by the very idea of air travel, and thousands traveled to the airport, paid the dime fee, and watched the airliners take off and land. Two years later these fees and their associated parking had already provided $285,000, and other non-travel related incomes (food, etc.) were another $650,000 a year. The airport was soon a financial success. A smaller airport in nearby Jackson Heights, Holmes Airport, was unable to prevent the expansion of the larger airport and closed in 1940.[citation needed]

Newark Airport began renovations, but could not keep up with the new Queens airport, which TIME called "the most pretentious land and seaplane base in the world". Even before the project was completed LaGuardia had won commitments from the five largest airlines (Pan American Airways, American, United, Eastern Air Lines and Transcontinental & Western Air) to begin using the new field as soon as it opened.[38] Pan Am's transatlantic Boeing 314 flying boats moved to La Guardia from Port Washington in 1940. During World War II the airport was used to train aviation technicians and as a logistics field. Transatlantic landplane airline flights started in late 1945; some continued after Idlewild (now John F. Kennedy International) opened in July 1948, but the last ones shifted to Idlewild in April 1951.

Newspaper accounts alternately referred to the airfield as New York Municipal Airport and LaGuardia Field until the modern name was officially applied when the airport moved to Port of New York Authority control under a lease with New York City on June 1, 1947.

LaGuardia opened with four runways at 45-degree angles to each other,[39] the longest (13/31) being 6,000 ft (1,800 m). Runway 18/36 was closed soon after a United DC-4 ran off the south end in 1947; runway 9/27 (4,500 ft) was closed around 1958, allowing LaGuardia's terminal to expand northward after 1960. Circa 1961 runway 13/31 was shifted northeastward to allow construction of a parallel taxiway (such amenities being unknown when LGA was built) and in 1965–66 both remaining runways were extended to their present 7,000 ft (2,100 m).

The April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows 283 weekday fixed-wing departures from LaGuardia: 126 American, 49 Eastern, 33 Northeast, 31 TWA, 29 Capital and 15 United. American's flights included 26 nonstops to Boston and 27 to Washington National (mostly Convair 240s).[40] Jet flights (United 727s to Cleveland and Chicago) started on June 1, 1964.

LaGuardia Airport as seen from a taxiway in 2010. Note both the new and old control towers.

Although LaGuardia was a large airport for the era in which it was built, it soon became too small. Starting in 1968 general aviation aircraft were charged heavy fees to operate from LaGuardia during peak hours, driving many LGA operators to airports such as Teterboro Airport in Teterboro, New Jersey. The increase in traffic at LaGuardia and safety concerns prompted the closure of nearby Flushing Airport in 1984. Also in 1984, to further combat overcrowding at LGA, the Port Authority instituted a Sunday-thru-Friday "perimeter rule" banning nonstop flights from LaGuardia to cities more than 1,500 miles (2,400 km) away; at the time, Denver was the only such city with nonstop flights, and it became the only exception to the rule. (In 1986 Western Airlines hoped to fly 737-300s nonstop to Salt Lake City and unsuccessfully challenged the rule in federal court). Later, the Port Authority also moved to connect JFK and Newark Airport to regional rail networks with the AirTrain Newark and AirTrain JFK, in an attempt to make these more distant airports competitive with LaGuardia.[41] In addition to these local regulations, the FAA also limited the number of flights and types of aircraft that could operate at LaGuardia.

LaGuardia's traffic continued to grow. By 2000, the airport routinely experienced overcrowding delays, many more than an hour long. That year, Congress passed legislation to revoke the federal traffic limits on LaGuardia by 2007. The reduced demand for air travel following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City quickly slowed LaGuardia's traffic growth, helping to mitigate the airport's delays. Ongoing Port Authority investments to renovate the Central Terminal Building and improve the airfield layout have also made the airport's operations more efficient in recent years.

Aircraft on Final Approach to LGA Runway 31 over Flushing.

FAA approved Instrument Departure Procedure "Whitestone Climb" and the "Expressway Visual Approach to Runway 31".[when?] When adopting the Expressway Approach, when the aircraft crosses the intersection of I-278 and the Long Island Expressway in Long Island City, it turns northeast on 85° and follows the Long Island Expressway, after reaching Flushing Meadow Park, the aircraft executes a 135° left turn over the Flushing Bay and joins the final approach to the Runway 31. When adopting Whitestone Climb, aircraft will circle over Flushing and head to Whitestone Bridge on the North upon takeoff from Runway 13. Such patterns aim to reduce the noise,[42] avoid the traffic of the JFK Airport and maximize the air traffic capacity in the New York TRACON.[43][44]

In late 2006, construction began to replace the Wallace Harrison designed air traffic control tower built in 1962 with a more modern one. The tower began operations on October 9, 2010.[45]

On August 12, 2009, Delta Air Lines and US Airways announced a landing slot and terminal swap in separate press releases. Under the swap plan, US Airways would have given Delta 125 operating slot pairs at LaGuardia. US Airways, in return, would have received 42 operating slot pairs at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., and be granted the authority to begin service from the US to São Paulo, Brazil and Tokyo, Japan. When the swap plan was complete, Delta Shuttle operations would have moved from the Marine Air Terminal to Terminal C (the present US Airways terminal), and Terminals C and D would have been connected together. US Airways Shuttle flights would have moved to the Marine Air Terminal, and mainline US Airways flights would have moved to Terminal D (the present Delta terminal).[46][47]

The United States Department of Transportation announced that they would approve the Delta/US Airways transaction under the condition that they sell slots to other airlines. Delta and US Airways dropped the slot swap deal in early July 2010 and both airlines filed a court appeal.[48] In May 2011, both airlines announced that they would resubmit their proposal of the slot swap to the US DOT. It was tentatively approved by the US DOT on July 21, 2011.[49] The slot swap received final approval from the US DOT on October 10, 2011.[50]

On December 16, 2011, Delta Air Lines announced plans to open a new domestic hub at LaGuardia Airport. The investment was the largest single expansion by any carrier at LaGuardia in decades, with flights increasing by more than 60 percent, and destinations by more than 75 percent. By summer 2013, Delta increased operations to 264 daily flights between LaGuardia and more than 60 cities, more than any other airline at LaGuardia.[51]

In November 2019, Southwest Airlines ended service to Newark primarily due to the Boeing 737 MAX groundings, poor performance, and inadequate facilities, and consolidated its New York-area operations to LaGuardia and Islip.[52]

Reconstruction[edit]

The reconstructed Terminal B at LaGuardia in 2021

In April 2010, Port Authority director Christopher Ward announced that the agency had hired consultants to explore a full demolition and rebuilding of LaGuardia's Central Terminal. The project would create a unified, modern, and efficient plan for the airport, currently an amalgam of decades of additions and modifications. The project, expected to cost $2.4 billion, will include the demolition of the existing central terminal building and its four concourses, garage, Hangar 1, and frontage roads; building temporary facilities, and designing and building a new central terminal building.[53] The rebuilding would be staged in phases in order to maintain operations throughout the project.[54]

Proposals were due on January 31, 2012. Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, said, "It's got a quaint, nostalgic but unacceptable kind of 1940s, 1950s feel that's just not acceptable."[55] The Port Authority was seeking a private company to develop and operate the replacement terminal with private funds, similar to how Delta operates the other terminals at the airport. However, in January 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a plan for the state to oversee the construction of the long-stalled new terminal project instead of the proposed public-private partnership.[56]

Construction at Terminal B, seen in April 2018

On July 27, 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo, joined by then-Vice President Joe Biden, announced a $4 billion plan to rebuild the terminals as one contiguous building with terminal bridges connecting buildings. Airport officials and planners had concluded that the airport essentially had to be torn down and rebuilt.[57]

Under the airport reconstruction plan disclosed in 2015, a single terminal building is to be constructed in stages, with a people mover, retail space and a new hotel. Some 2 miles (3.2 km) of additional taxiways are to be built. A people mover is to connect the new terminal sections, the Grand Central Parkway is to be reconfigured, and AirTrain LaGuardia, previously announced, will connect the airport to the Mets–Willets Point subway station and the Mets–Willets Point LIRR station. A proposed high-speed ferry, if introduced, will service the Marine Air Terminal, a national historic landmark, which will remain intact. An onsite tram has also been proposed to move passengers more quickly within the central terminal.[58] The new airport is to be eco-friendly and contain accommodations such as a hotel of approximately 200 rooms[58] and a business/conference center.[59] The entire airport will move 600 feet (180 m) closer to the Grand Central Parkway.[60][61] New parking garages replaced parking facilities between the existing terminals and Grand Central Parkway, creating space for the new facilities. By locating the terminals closer to the Grand Central Parkway, additional space for aircraft taxiways and hold areas was created, reducing ground delays. The runways themselves were not reconfigured.[59][62]

Construction of the project's first phase started in spring of 2016, once final plans were approved by the Port Authority board, with the entire redevelopment scheduled to be completed by late 2022.[63] Terminal B will be demolished, and Delta will rebuild its terminals C and D in coordination with the plan. The new airport will feature an island gate system, with passengers connecting between the terminal building and the gates via bridges that will be high enough for aircraft to taxi under.[59][64] In late March 2016, the comprehensive plans for the redevelopment were approved unanimously between the Port Authority of New York, New Jersey, and LaGuardia Gateway Partners for the Terminal B Project.[65][66] Construction costs were estimated to range from $4 billion to $5.3 billion.[67] In August 2017, Magic Johnson Enterprises and Loop Capital created a joint venture named JLC Capital to invest in Phase 2 of LaGuardia Airport's reconstruction.[68] The same month, Delta broke ground on the last phase of the airport's reconstruction.[69][70] On December 9, 2017, six airlines moved at LGA in anticipation of the new terminals. Alaska Airlines and JetBlue moved to the Marine Air Terminal. American consolidated in Terminal B. Frontier and Spirit depart from Terminal C and arrive at Terminal D.[71] Since the move, there have been further changes with Alaska Airlines ending service to LaGuardia, JetBlue moving all but Boston flights to Terminal B, and Spirit consolidating its operations in Terminal A.[72]

LaGuardia Gateway Partners, which manages the construction of Terminal B, has completed most of the complex.[73] The first half of the seven-level West Parking Garage opened in February 2018, with 1,600 of 3,100 parking spaces being made available, and the rest of the garage was opened later that year.[74][61] Eleven new gates at Terminal B opened on December 1, 2018, and were used by Air Canada, American Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. Five additional gates opened on June 2, 2019, when United relocated most of its operations to the new concourse.[75][76][77] The new space included a concourse with a 55-foot-tall (17 m) ceiling, food concessions, an FAO Schwarz toy store, and an indoor play area.[77] The new headhouse at Terminal B opened on June 13, 2020, along with the new connector to the Eastern Concourse. On August 5, 2020, American opened the first seven gates of the Western Concourse, with ten additional gates and the bridge connector scheduled to open at the end of 2021.[78][79] The second bridge connecting to Terminal B was later completed and opened to the public on January 27, 2022.[80]

On the east side of the airport, Delta is consolidating its two terminals, Terminal C and D, into a centralized Terminal C headhouse, which is located on the former Terminal D parking site. In addition, Delta is rebuilding its airside facilities into four "finger" concourses.[81] The first concourse to open was Concourse G on the eastern end of the airport, which opened on October 29, 2019.[82][83] Delta Shuttle flights moved to the Concourse G on November 16, 2019.[84] On June 4, 2022, Delta unveiled its new Terminal C headhouse to the public in tandem with concourse E, which boasts 10 narrow body gates.[85] The Terminal C headhouse consolidates the former Terminal C and D's security checkpoint into 11 lanes which, if necessary, can be expanded to 16 lanes. Other features include a dedicated drop-off area for carry-on only passengers, biometric scanning technology, a sensory room designed for those with autism, and Delta's largest Sky Club to date.[86]

As of June 2022, Delta is in the process of replacing Terminal D's gates and will start construction of Concourse D.[87] Delta is fast-tracking its remaining projects at Terminal C due to the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed the airline to use the decrease in passage traffic to speed up construction by two years.[88][89]

Operations[edit]

While LaGuardia frequently accommodates general aviation, the airport is primarily serviced by Part 121 scheduled air carriers providing passenger service to regional, domestic, and limited international destinations. Because of its congested nature and proximity to dense urban neighborhoods, commercial flights to and from the airport are subject to several restrictions enacted by both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). The airport almost only ever handles narrow-body aircraft and can handle up Airplane Design Group (ADG) IV widebody aircraft such as the Boeing 767 and the Airbus A310, however these aircraft in this group are rarely seen at LaGuardia.

Service restrictions[edit]

International flights[edit]

The airport does not have U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities. As such, international arrivals are only possible from outstations serviced by United States border preclearance. Passengers and crewmembers on these flights 'clear' customs at their departure airport and—for immigration purposes—are considered to be on US territory during their entire journey, allowing them to exit LaGuardia in the same manner as domestic travelers.[90]

Curfew and Perimeter Rule[edit]

To mitigate the impact of aircraft noise pollution and facilitate airfield maintenance, a seasonal curfew traditionally exists between the hours of 12 am and 6 am during the warm months of the year.[91] Additionally, a 1984 "Perimeter Rule" implemented by PANYNJ bars airline flights to and from points farther than 1,500 miles (2,400 km), except on Saturdays or to Denver, Colorado.[92] With long haul operations generally requiring heavier fuel loads and larger aircraft, the regulation aims to eliminate excess perceived noise generated by such flights. Changes to the Perimeter Rule were considered as recently as 2015,[93] but a New York State Senate bill was introduced in 2021 with the intent of codifying the rule into law.[94]

Slot system[edit]

As one of the United States' and most-dense and congested Class B airports, LaGuardia's IFR operations are governed by an FAA slot system.[95][96] Operators are granted time-sensitive individual takeoff and landing rights in accordance with the International Air Transport Association's Worldwide Airport Slot Guidelines (WASG).[97] In 2020, the FAA responded to drastic reductions in air traffic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by suspending the expiration of unused slots at several US airports including LaGuardia.[98]

Facilities[edit]

Terminals[edit]

LaGuardia has three active terminals (A, B & C) with 72 gates.[99][100] The terminals are all connected by buses and walkways. Signage throughout the terminals was designed by Paul Mijksenaar.[101] As with the other Port Authority airports, some terminals at LaGuardia are managed and maintained by airlines themselves. Terminal B was under direct Port Authority operation, but as of 2016, operation of Terminal B was transferred to a private company, LaGuardia Gateway Partners.

LaGuardia is undergoing a multi-billion dollar redesign that resulted in a new Terminal B and a new Terminal C (encompassing the old Terminals C and D). Terminal A remains unchanged except for minor updates. The new layout will consist of new gate concourses as well. The new Terminal B has two gate concourses referred to as the Western Concourse (Gates 11–31) and Eastern Concourse (Gates 40–59). The new Terminal C has four gate concourses (numbered 61–69, 71–79, 82–89 and 92–98).

Terminal A[edit]

Marine Air Terminal in 1974

Terminal A, known as the Marine Air Terminal (MAT), was the airport's original terminal for overseas flights. The waterfront terminal was designed to serve the fleet of flying boats, or Clippers, of Pan American Airways, America's main international airline throughout the 1930s and 1940s. When a Clipper landed in Long Island Sound, it taxied to a dock where passengers could disembark into the terminal. During World War II new four-engine land planes were developed, and flying boats stopped carrying scheduled passengers out of New York after 1947. The last Pan American flight left the terminal in February 1952, bound for Bermuda.

Inside the terminal hangs Flight, a mural measuring 12 feet (3.7 m) in height and 237 feet (72 m) in length; it was the largest mural created as part of the Great Depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA).[102] Completed by James Brooks in 1942, Flight depicts the history of man's involvement with flight. The mural was painted over without explanation by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey in the 1950s, possibly because some saw left-wing symbolism in it.[103] After an extensive restoration project headed by aviation historian Geoffrey Arend, the mural was rededicated in 1980.[104]

In 1986, Pan Am restarted flights at the MAT with the purchase of New York Air's shuttle service between Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C. In 1991, Delta Air Lines bought the Pan Am Shuttle and subsequently started service from the MAT on September 1. In 1995, the MAT was designated as a historic landmark. A $7 million restoration was completed in time for the airport's 65th anniversary of commercial flights on December 2, 2004. On December 9, 2017, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines relocated to the MAT while Delta consolidated all Delta Shuttle flights to Terminal C.[105] On October 27, 2018, Alaska Airlines ended all service from LaGuardia Airport, leaving JetBlue as the terminal's only tenant. On April 28, 2021 Spirit Airlines started operating its Fort Lauderdale-bound flights from Terminal A.[106] On July 20, 2021, JetBlue announced that they will be relocating from the MAT to Terminal B, a move they completed on July 9, 2022, with the relocation of Boston flights to Terminal B.[107][108][109] As of March 29, 2022, all flights operated by Spirit Airlines now operate out of the MAT. On September 13, 2022, Frontier Airlines moved all of its flights to Terminal A.[110]

Terminal B[edit]

Newly reconstructed Terminal B, opened in 2020
Bridge connecting the headhouse and concourse. The area under the bridge is a taxiway that will increase the traffic capacity on the ramp.[111]

Terminal B serves many airlines, and it functions as a large hub for American Airlines. In 2017, work started on the first of two new concourses, which replaced the old A, B, C & D concourses. The new terminal was designed by Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum.[112]

In 2020, the new Terminal B headhouse opened with a bridge connecting it to the completed Eastern Concourse. On January 27, 2022, a second bridge was completed, connecting Terminal B's headhouse to the Western Concourse.[80] In 2022, the old Terminal B has been demolished.

On October 31, 2021, JetBlue moved to Terminal B (except for flights to Boston), as the airline wanted to make connections easier with American Airlines due to the Northeast alliance between them. This would allow JetBlue to offer more flights from LaGuardia.[113] JetBlue's Boston flights moved to Terminal B on July 9, 2022.[108][109]

Headhouse Floorplans:

4F Bridges to/from Concourses
3F Departures Passenger drop-off, Ticketing & Check-in, Security, Parking
2F Arrivals Baggage Claim, Car Services, Parking, Passenger pick-up, Taxis
1F Public Transit Welcome Center, Hotel shuttles and Buses

Western Concourse (Gates 11–31)
In 2020, 8 gates at Terminal B's new Western Concourse opened (24–31). An additional 4 gates (19, 20, 22, and 23) were opened on December 15, 2021, along with a new American Airlines Admirals Lounge. With the opening of these new gates, the old concourse D, the last of the old Terminal B gates, was closed to traffic. An additional 2 gates (17 and 18) were opened on April 18, 2022. Another gate, Gate 11, came online as of May 17, 2022, and on June 8, 2022, two more gates, Gate 12 & Gate 14, were opened. On July 9, 2022, the final two new gates, Gate 15 & Gate 16, opened. However, Gate 23 has been taken out of service to move its jetway to the new Gate 16. American Airlines now operates all flights in this concourse.

Eastern Concourse (Gates 40–59)
On December 1, 2018, eleven gates at Terminal B's new Eastern Concourse opened. Five additional gates opened on June 2, 2019, allowing United Airlines to move all of its operations at LaGuardia to the new concourse. On May 20, 2022, the jetway from Gate 49 was moved to Western Concourse Gate 14 for installation.

Terminal C[edit]

LGA Terminal C Security Checkpoint as of June 6, 2022

The new Terminal C, designed by Corgan,[114] opened on June 4, 2022, and connects to four concourses serving Delta Air Lines and WestJet (D, E, F & G). Two of these concourses are new (E & G) and two (D & F) are part of the original Terminal C and D and will be used while new concourses are completed. While the old Terminal C and Terminal D buildings remain while its concourses are still active, the ticketing and baggage operations of these gates have been consolidated into the new Terminal C. When completed, the new Terminal C will include access to 37 gates in its four concourses. The new Terminal C also has a Delta Sky Club, the airline's largest.

As of June 4, 2022, these renumbered gates are active:[115][116]

  • Gates 60A, 60B and 62–69, the original portion of Terminal C, are used for Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, and WestJet flights. The gates were formally numbered C1-C41. The replacement concourse, Concourse D, will use the numbers 61–69 for its gates when it is built.
  • Gates 70, 72–79, in the new Concourse E, opened in 2022, are reserved for Delta Air Lines. Concourse E is on the site where the eastern half of the original Terminal C was.
  • Gates 81–84, 85A, 85B and 89, in the original portion of Terminal D, are used for Delta Air Lines flights. The gates were formally numbered D1-D11. The Delta Sky Club in the old Terminal D near Gate 81 is still open. There is a temporary passageway to Concourse G that will allow passengers to enter the new Terminal C until the replacement concourse, Concourse F, is completed. It will use Gates 80–89.
  • Gates 92–98, in the new Concourse G, opened in 2019, are used for Delta Air Lines and Delta Connection flights.

Former Terminals[edit]

Central Terminal Building (Original Terminal B)[edit]

The Central Terminal Building was originally six blocks long, consisted of a four-story central section, two three-story wings, and four concourses (A, B, C & D) with 40 aircraft gates. The $36 million facility designed by Harrison & Abramovitz was dedicated on April 17, 1964.[117] Delta and US Airways left the CTB in 1983 and 1992 respectively for their own dedicated terminals on the east side of the airport. The Port Authority and various airlines carried out a $340 million improvement project in the 1990s to expand and renovate the existing space.[77] The terminal was replaced by the new Terminal B, with the final gates (Concourse D) and terminal already demolished in early 2022.

Terminal C (1992 – 2022)[edit]

Terminal C
An April 2018 photograph of the Eastern Portion of Terminal C, now demolished

Terminal C (formerly known as the East End Terminal and USAir Terminal) was a 300,000-square-foot (28,000 m2) facility that opened September 12, 1992, at a cost of $250 million. Designed by William Nicholas Bodouva + Associates Architects and Planners, it housed part of Delta's operations at LaGuardia. As of June 4, 2022, Terminal C's check in and baggage claim area have been closed.

The building was initially conceived in a 1989 agreement between the Port Authority and Texas Air Corporation (then-owner of Continental Airlines and Eastern Air Lines).[118] When Eastern was forcibly bankrupted by Texas Air, its assets—including the new terminal's leases—were transferred to Continental. Continental never moved in, and in turn sold the leases (along with most of its LaGuardia slots) to US Airways as part of a bankruptcy restructuring.[119] Trump Shuttle, successor to the Eastern Air Shuttle, also occupied the terminal before becoming US Airways Shuttle.

As a result of a slot-swap deal between Delta and US Airways, as of July 2012, Delta occupied the majority of the terminal (gates C15–C44). American (the former US Airways flights) operated some flights from gates C35–C44 until December 9, 2017. The eastern concourse connected to Terminal C has been closed and demolished (Gates C15-C24), and the construction of the new Concourse E has been completed. The new concourse opened to the public on June 4, 2022. This new concourse is numbered 70–79 for its gates.

A March 2021 photograph of the new Concourse E, eventually to be connected to the new Delta Terminal C, at LaGuardia Airport

Terminal D (1983 – 2022)[edit]

Exterior of Terminal D in 2012, now demolished
Pre-Renovation Terminal D baggage area in 2019

Terminal D opened on June 19, 1983, at a cost of approximately $90 million, was designed by William Nicholas Bodouva + Associates Architects to accommodate Delta's new Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 aircraft.[120] This terminal also housed Northwest Airlines and Northwest Airlink from its opening in 1983 until the merger into Delta in 2009.

As of January 8, 2020, Delta Air Lines and Delta Connection operate out of the new Concourse G that was connected to Terminal D.[105] Terminal D was connected to Terminal C by a 600-foot walkway, which opened in early 2013 as part of Delta's effort to build a hub at LaGuardia. As of September 1, 2020, the walkway between Terminals C and D was demolished, and the construction of the new Concourse F is currently underway.

As of June 4, 2022, Terminal D's check in and baggage claim areas were closed. During the week of September 12 - 18, 2022 the central and Eastern sections of Terminal D were demolished. The West end of terminal D with a DELTA Sky Club and gates 81–85 remain standing and are still in use. This section is connected to the new Terminal C via a walkway bridge. The remaining gates will stay in operation until the new Concourse F is complete which will use the gate numbers 82–89.

General aviation[edit]

Although there is no separate terminal building for general aviation aircraft a pseudo-terminal is operated within the Marine Air Terminal (Terminal A), which is currently run by Sheltair Aviation[121] providing full FBO services to private and charter aircraft owners-pilots including 100LL and Jet A fueling, computerized weather, and flight planning as well as pilot and passenger lounges. To access the General Aviation terminal an on-airport tenant must possess a SIDA (Security Identification Display Area) badge for unescorted access, transient aircraft owners-pilots and passengers must be escorted at all times into and out of the GA Terminal and to the ramp and hangar areas by the FBO staff.

Following the events of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 the Federal Aviation Administration changed the rules for the landing and departure of general aviation aircraft at LaGuardia. Pilots operating a non-scheduled IFR flight are now required to make a reservation via the FAA's e-CVRS[122] system no more than 72 hours prior to the flight's arrival or departure while public charter flights may make a reservation up to six months prior. Unscheduled IFR flights may only operate at LaGuardia with a reservation from the hours of 6:00 am to 9:59 pm local time Monday thru Friday and 12:00 pm to 9:59 pm local time on Sundays. Reservations for unscheduled IFR flights are not required all day on Saturdays. Aircraft without a reservation will be redirected to either Teterboro Airport or Linden Airport.

A private seaplane base, EDO (FAA LID: 4NY2), operates three waterways in Flushing Bay and the East River north of LaGuardia Airport.[123]

Ground transportation[edit]

Q70 bus operated by MTA Regional Bus Operations
Q70 "LaGuardia Link" bus operated by MTA Regional Bus Operations

As of 2021, buses are the only mode of mass transit to connect the airport with its surroundings. All terminals are served by accessible public MTA bus lines—including two Select Bus Services (SBS)—and free transfers to the New York City Subway are provided via OMNY or MetroCard payments.

The airport also features a complementary internal shuttle bus route which makes stops at all terminals.[124]

Despite many failed proposals throughout its history, LaGuardia is not served directly by rail. Nearby lines of the New York City Subway and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), however, provides northern Queens with connections to the greater New York metropolitan area and are commonly accessed from the airport by public bus or private car services.

The airport is mainly accessible via the Grand Central Parkway and overpasses at 94th street and 102nd street.[125] Taxicabs serving LaGuardia are metered and licensed by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, and uniformed airport employees are stationed to dispatch fares.[126] For-hire-vehicles (FHV) including limousines and rideshare operators are accommodated at designated locations.[127] In 2019, PANYNJ approved the implementation of "airport access fee" surcharges on FHV and taxi trips, with the revenue earmarked to support the agency's capital programs.[128]

American Airlines 737 approaching Runway 4, as seen from Planeview Park

Other facilities[edit]

When New York Air was in operation, its headquarters were in Hangar 5 at LaGuardia.[129]

Law enforcement and Aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) services are provided by the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD). The agency's LaGuardia Airport Command (Building 137) was completed in 2010.[130] Emergency medical services are provided by North Shore University Hospital under contract to the Port Authority.

Overlooking the approach end of runway 4 is Planeview Park, a public park operated by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The 1.03-acre (0.42 ha) space[131] contains park benches and lawns adjacent the Grand Central Parkway along the southern perimeter of the airport, and is a prime viewing location for aircraft spotting.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

AirlinesDestinationsRefs
Air Canada Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson [132]
Air Canada Express Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson [132]
American Airlines Atlanta, Aruba, Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston–Intercontinental, Miami, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, Washington–National
Seasonal: Columbus–Glenn, Eagle/Vail, Glacier Park/Kalispell, Jackson Hole, Montrose, Nassau
[133]
American Eagle Atlanta, Charlottesville (VA), Chicago–O'Hare, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus–Glenn, Dayton, Detroit, Fayetteville/Bentonville, Greensboro, Houston–Intercontinental, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Little Rock (begins November 3, 2022),[134] Louisville, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Montréal–Trudeau, Nashville, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Roanoke, St. Louis, Toronto–Pearson, Tulsa (begins November 3, 2022),[135] Washington–National, Wilmington (NC)
Seasonal: Asheville, Hilton Head, Key West, Rapid City, South Bend
[133]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Boston, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Houston–Intercontinental, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, Raleigh/Durham, Sarasota, Tampa, Washington–National, West Palm Beach
Seasonal: Myrtle Beach
[136]
Delta Connection Albany, Asheville, Bangor, Birmingham (AL), Boston, Buffalo, Burlington (VT), Charleston (SC), Charlotte, Charlottesville (VA), Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbia (SC), Columbus–Glenn, Dayton, Des Moines, Fayetteville/Bentonville, Fort Myers, Grand Rapids, Greensboro, Greenville/Spartanburg, Hartford,[137] Indianapolis, Jacksonville (FL), Kansas City, Knoxville, Louisville, Madison, Memphis, Milwaukee, Montréal–Trudeau, Myrtle Beach, Nashville, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Pensacola, Pittsburgh, Portland (ME), Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Roanoke, Rochester (NY), St. Louis, Savannah, Syracuse, Toronto–Pearson, Traverse City, Washington–Dulles (begins November 10, 2022),[138] Washington–National, Wilmington (NC), Worcester
Seasonal: Hilton Head, Key West, Martha's Vineyard, Myrtle Beach, Nantucket, Sarasota
[136]
Frontier Airlines Atlanta, Miami, Orlando [139]
JetBlue Boston, Charleston (SC), Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville (FL), Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, Savannah, Tampa, West Palm Beach
Seasonal: Fort Myers, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Portland (ME), Sarasota
[140]
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, Houston–Hobby, Kansas City, Nashville, New Orleans, St. Louis, Tampa
Seasonal: Orlando, Sarasota
[141]
Spirit Airlines Charlotte (begins November 1, 2022),[142] Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Houston–Intercontinental (begins November 1, 2022),[143] Miami, Myrtle Beach, Nashville, Orlando [144]
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Washington–Dulles [145]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Houston–Intercontinental, Washington–Dulles [145]
WestJet Toronto–Pearson [146]

Statistics[edit]

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from LGA (July 2021 – June 2022)[147]
Rank City Passengers Airlines
1 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 897,000 American, Delta, Spirit, United
2 Atlanta, Georgia 894,000 American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest
3 Miami, Florida 792,000 American, Delta, Frontier
4 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 692,000 American, Delta, Spirit
5 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 634,000 Delta, JetBlue, Spirit
6 Orlando, Florida 593,000 American, Delta, Spirit, United
7 Denver, Colorado 515,000 American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United
8 Charlotte, North Carolina 428,000 American, Delta
9 Detroit, Michigan 373,000 American, Delta, Spirit
10 Houston–Bush, Texas 364,000 American, Delta, United

Airline market share[edit]

Largest Airlines at LGA
(July 2021 – June 2022)
[148]
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 Delta Air Lines 9,948,722 41.4%
2 American Airlines 6,157,230 25.6%
3 Southwest Airlines 2,323,940 9.7%
4 JetBlue 1,726,745 7.2%
5 United Airlines 1,617,503 6.7%

Annual traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic at LGA airport. See Wikidata query.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

See also[edit]

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Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website https://www.afhra.af.mil/.

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Media related to LaGuardia Airport at Wikimedia Commons