Travelers walk through the newly completed Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport in New York City on Thursday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 27 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul cut the ribbon for a new terminal at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday, the culmination of a six-year, $4 billion renovation at the Queens facility.
The 1.35 million-square-foot Terminal B will host American Airlines. It encompasses 35 gates and 50 retail spaces, as well as a 3,000-space parking garage, the second of two new pedestrian sky bridges and a series of art installations.
"The transformation of LaGuardia Airport into a world-class destination that is internationally recognized for its beauty is an integral part of our bold vision for a new era in New York," Hochul said in a speech.
The upgrades will make it easier for passengers to connect to their flights, and the new layout provides two entrance and exit options for airplanes taxiing to and from their gates. Previously, the single route for taxiing aircraft could block their movement.
New York Mayor Eric Adams also attended the terminal's opening.
"It's time to get New York City moving again," Adams said. "This is a whole new LaGuardia, and I want to thank Governor Hochul, the Port Authority, and all of our partners who helped make this happen. This is how we get stuff done together."
Crews first broke ground on the project in June 2016. The temporary walkways used by travelers for the last several years will be removed by Saturday. A remaining portion of the old facility, the Central Terminal Building, has been removed from service and will be torn down this spring.
According to Hochul, there are plans underway to renovate Terminal C and Terminal D, as well. Delta Air Lines, which operates out of those terminals, told Business Insider in October that its work was around 80% complete.
In her remarks, Hochul said the airport -- formerly so run down that then-Vice President Joe Biden once infamously claimed that if he blindfolded someone and took them there, the person would think they were in "some third world country" -- was already winning acclaim.
"UNESCO just awarded this airport the 2021 Prix Versailles Global Architecture and Design Award for the new best airport in the world," Hochul said to applause.
She also poked fun at Biden for his onetime commentary about LaGuardia.
"I do want to thank someone who helped put a little spotlight on this back in 2014," Hochul said. "We're going to invite President Biden here, and when he takes off the blindfold and sees this, he'll know that we listened, we engaged, and we made sure that yes, this is the best place in the world - and those are not just my words."