LaGuardia Airport has been the scene of many “firsts” throughout its world-class redevelopment. Passengers on Southwest Airline’s Flight 617 to Tampa participated in another milestone as they were on board the first plane to taxi under the new Terminal B pedestrian skybridge, which opened last June with the new arrivals and departures hall and connects customers to their gates in the eastern concourse.
The occasion was marked with a water cannon salute to celebrate the inaugural flight passing below a skybridge measuring 70 feet across and up to 97 feet above the taxiway.
Since 2020 customers have been using the skybridge to access Terminal B’s east gates, home to an island concourse with best-in-class concessions and other amenities. The design of the new terminals twin island concourses was done deliberately to provide more space and options for planes to taxi upon departure and arrival. Previously, there was only one way into the gates, and one way out.
The skybridge allows aircraft to pass underneath it with a tail height of up to 45 feet. This has enabled more than two additional miles of taxiway space to be built, reducing delays for arrivals and departures.
“As the region begins to reopen, a whole new LaGuardia Airport continues to move forward creating a world-class airport experience for travelers,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “Today marks a unique and important milestone. The innovative design of the airport provides a 50% increase in aircraft taxiways that will dramatically decrease gate congestion and gate delays, greatly reducing a major source of frustration for passengers. Passengers utilize pedestrian skybridges over an active taxiway to get to their gates which allows for the more efficient movement of aircraft. And upon completion of Terminal B, the new LGA will be the world’s only airport with dual skybridges.”
For customers using the skybridge to get to their gates, they will be greeted with stunning views, from the Manhattan skyline to Citi Field, while adding much-needed taxi space to permit airliners to get to and from their gates faster.
“It’s been amazing watching this project transform over the last 5 years — I’m just happy to be a part of it,” said Project Executive, Jessica Forse.
A second skybridge is scheduled to open by the end of 2021, while the taxiway underneath will open in 2022, connecting the western concourse to the Arrivals & Departures Hall.