NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A ribbon cutting will mark a welcome step forward Tuesday for travelers at Newark Liberty International Airport: the much-anticipated opening of the new Terminal A.
NewsCopter 7 was over the transformed, brightly lit, one-million-square-foot facility shortly before dawn.
The terminal, which cost $2.7 billion and has been in the works for more than four years, houses 33 gates and is about 20% larger than the previous terminal.
The new facility includes technology upgrades, including touchless security checkpoints, and new options for dining and shopping.
Eyewitness News' John Del Giorno discussed EWR's new terminal from a pilot's perspective.
"What the old terminals lacked was room for modern security," said Del Giorno told the Eyewitness News Morning team from NewsCopter 7. "That was never envisioned in the early 1970s."
The terminal is designed as an upside-down "T," Del Giorno explained. The security procedures will all take place in the center, allowing passengers "plenty of room to spread out to all the gates" after passing through the central checkpoint.
Local leaders are also highlighting the inclusion of artwork by more than two dozen local artists which they say reflect the creativity and diversity of the region.
"Unprecedented in its magnitude and potential impact, Port Authority's transformation of Terminal A will result in a space that is quintessentially New Jersey," said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
The terminal is expected to open to the public before the end of the year - and it comes not a moment too soon.
A study earlier this year listed Newark last in overall satisfaction among major airports.
Airports undergoing construction and major renovations typically score poorly for terminal facilities, according to Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power and Associates.
Newark's Terminal A grand opening comes about five months after Delta Airlines' new Terminal C officially opened to travelers - and positive reviews - at LaGuardia Airport in New York.