LaGuardia and John F Kennedy Airports set to undergo makeover

21 October 2014 (Last Updated October 21st, 2014 18:30)

Two of the busiest airports in New York, US, LaGuardia and John F Kennedy (JFK) International Airports, are set to receive upgrades, improved transportation links and more efficient air-traffic control technology.

Two of the busiest airports in New York, US, LaGuardia and John F Kennedy (JFK) International Airports, are set to receive upgrades, improved transportation links and more efficient air-traffic control technology.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo and vice-president Joe Biden have announced a $500,000 design contest that will begin in 30 days. This follows Biden's comment in February, where he compared LaGuardia to a facility in a third-world country.

The governor also announced that the plan specifications are yet to be confirmed, which depend on the selected submissions from the design contest.

"The expansion plan also includes the construction of a regional cargo distribution hub at Stewart International Airport, which is 67 miles north of midtown Manhattan."

Contestants will need to show designs that would lead to expanded transportation options, improved amenities and larger footprints for both airports, which are operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ).

According to official statistics, the airports collectively served 77 million passengers and generated $53bn in economic activity last year.

The expansion plan also includes the construction of a regional cargo distribution hub at Stewart International Airport, which is 67 miles north of midtown Manhattan. This would allow for cargo to be diverted from JFK, which would help in making room for the expansion of other services at the airport.

PANYNJ will be allocating $8bn for construction work at both airports and Newark-Liberty International over the next ten years. This funding includes $2.2bn as part of a $3.6bn redesign of LaGuardia's central terminal, which was voted as the dirtiest and most poorly terminal in the US designed by readers of Travel and Leisure magazine in 2012.

The entire project is part of a $17bn renovation plan announced in January, which will enhance New York's infrastructure, transportation networks, energy supply, coastal protection, weather warning system and emergency management.

LaGuardia, JFK and Newark-Liberty in New Jersey served 54 million passengers and handled one-third of the flights in the US last year.