QUEENS (WABC) -- Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled the new Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport in Queens Thursday, celebrating the completion of new facilities and marking a major milestone in the terminal's $4 billion transformation.
Upgrades at the 1,350,000 square-foot terminal, home to American Airlines, includes 35 gates, a new 3,000 car parking garage, a sky bridge, and 50 new retail spaces.
The governor says the improvements will help people connect to their flights easier -- and that they're beautiful. She says LaGuardia is now the best in the world.
"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. "The completion of this $4 billion project will help provide a brand new passenger experience for everyone traveling through Terminal B, easing connections and creating lasting impressions. Congratulations to all who made today's milestone possible as we continue creating a whole new LaGuardia airport worthy of New York. "
ALSO READ | Long Island police officer reunites with mom, baby he helped deliver
The completion and the opening of LaGuardia Terminal B's western skybridge and the opening in December of Terminal B's second concourse mean that every arriving and departing passenger at Terminal B will experience newly built, 21st century architecture and facilities from gate to curb.
All of the terminal's temporary walkways will now be taken out of service by Saturday, January 29, and with the completion of the second pedestrian bridge spanning active aircraft taxiway, Terminal B also becomes the world's first airport with dual pedestrian skybridges.
Measuring 482 feet long and 60 feet above the ground, the two pedestrian bridges were a critical feature in the design of the new terminal. The dual bridges are impressive architecturally, but also assure that aircraft that are taxiing have two ways to enter or exit their gates.
Since 2020, customers have been using one of the completed skybridges to access Terminal B's east gates. The design of the new terminals' twin island concourses provides more space and options for planes to taxi upon departure and arrival.
Previously, aircraft movements could be blocked because there was only one way into the gates and one way out.
"It's time to get New York City moving again, and a world-class airport here in Queens will help us do that," Mayor Eric 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."
Related roadway improvements and supporting infrastructure were all built while keeping the terminal fully functional during construction.
ALSO READ | NJ tow truck driver hailed as a hero after saving driver from crash
With the interior work at Terminal B now completed, the remaining small portion of the old Central Terminal Building has been removed from service and will be torn down, with demolition expected to be completed by spring 2022.
"Terminal B creates a top-of-the-line passenger experience and does so in the context of world-class architecture, inspiring public art and notable, iconic, locally inspired concessions," Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said.
Governor Hochul added that there are plans to replace Terminals C and D at the airport, too.
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts