Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), along with city, state and federal officials, today broke ground on a $160 million renovation and expansion of its facilities at New York LaGuardia Airport.
The project, which includes a 630-foot connector bridge linking Terminals C and D, a new Delta Sky Club in Terminal C and expanded security lanes in both terminals, comes as Delta creates a new domestic hub at LaGuardia, with service to 26 new cities by July 11. It represents the largest expansion project at LaGuardia in more than 40 years.
The new bridge will allow Delta customers to walk between terminals behind security, providing easy access to departure and arrival gates and facilitating convenient connecting flights. Delta has operated out of both terminals since March 25, when it began expanded service at LaGuardia.
Delta's renovations at LaGuardia will support 700 new jobs along with additional jobs for construction.
Work is also underway on a $1.2 billion enhancement and expansion of Delta's facilities at New York John F. Kennedy Airport, where Delta operates an international hub.
"All together, with our expansion projects at JFK and LaGuardia, Delta is investing nearly $1.4 billion in our New York airport facilities," said Delta Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson. "No other airline is approaching that level of commitment to New York in the next 12 months."
The expansion includes a new Delta Sky Club in Terminal C that is expected to open this summer. Additionally the Delta Sky Club in Terminal D will undergo an expansion.
"This investment will support a major expansion by Delta in the most competitive aviation market in the world," said Gail Grimmett, Delta's senior vice president – New York. "Our goal is to become the preferred carrier for the business traveler in New York."
New York Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy called the project "a great partnership" between city and state officials and Delta.
"Today's groundbreaking demonstrates how by partnering with businesses we can create hundreds of good jobs for New Yorkers," Duffy said. "This announcement gives travelers more options for flying across our state and provides a significant boost to our local economy. I want to thank Delta for investing in its operations here in Queens, creating jobs and for making key air service improvements that benefit business travelers across the entire Empire State."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pleased with what the project means for the city in terms of economic growth.
"When our administration joined with Delta to support its application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for permission to expand service here at LaGuardia Airport, we were excited at the prospect of better air service and 700 new permanent jobs for New Yorkers, as well as more than 100 new construction jobs," Bloomberg said. "Working with the Governor's team and with the leadership of Queens' own Congressman Joe Crowley, today we see the fruits of our labor.
"While we are breaking ground on the construction project, I am happy to say that Delta has already started the hiring process for the 700 new jobs associated with this $160 million expansion," Bloomberg said. "This is the largest expansion by any air carrier at LaGuardia in decades, and coupled with Delta's $1.2 billion Terminal 4 expansion project at JFK, it's a great sign of confidence in our city's future. I want to thank Delta CEO Richard Anderson for making investments in Queens and New York City that will help us continue creating new jobs and building the first-class infrastructure we need to remain the world's greatest city."
Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) said the project will be of great benefit to Queens. "Today marks a significant milestone in a project that will bring many benefits to Queens and New York, including the creation of thousands of new jobs, increased economic activity in and around LaGuardia, improved air service and reduced noise pollution," Crowley said. "Putting New Yorkers back to work is my No. 1 priority, and we should do all we can to encourage private sector employers, like Delta, to create jobs. I thank Delta for investing in LaGuardia Airport and investing in the future of Queens."
Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, pointed out that "investment in aviation infrastructure is one of the major ways to position the New York metropolitan region for the projected growth in passengers in the coming decades. We welcome and applaud Delta's plans to link and improve these important terminals at LaGuardia Airport, as the airline consolidates and expands operations for business and other travelers. Combined with its ongoing expansion of Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Delta is helping both our New York airports lay the critical groundwork for the region's future economic growth."
The airline will increase service at LaGuardia with 100 new flights in spring and summer 2012. When its full schedule is implemented, Delta will operate more than 260 daily flights between LaGuardia and more than 60 cities, exceeding any other carrier. Delta expanded its operations to Terminal C after reaching an agreement with US Airways to exchange takeoff and landing rights in New York and Washington, D.C.
Delta will operate many of the new LaGuardia routes with regional jets that offer two-class service and in-flight Wi-Fi, amenities that other carriers don't offer. Previously, these routes were served with smaller, turboprop aircraft.
Last month, Delta added service from LaGuardia to new business markets, including Dallas/Ft. Worth; Miami; Washington-Dulles; Syracuse, N.Y.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; Richmond, Va.; Norfolk, Va.; Manchester, N.H.; Burlington, Vt.; Greensboro, N.C., and Louisville, Ky.
The second phase of the expansion starts July 11, when Delta will add new service from LaGuardia to Denver; Houston; Cleveland; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Milwaukee, Wis.; Charlotte, N.C.; Wilmington, N.C.; Roanoke, Va.; Charlottesville, Va.; and Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Delta will offer four million additional seats in New York without adding to congestion.
To further enhance its new domestic hub, Delta has increased frequencies from LaGuardia to cities that include Fort Lauderdale; Orlando; Jacksonville, Fla.; Ft. Myers, Fla.; Indianapolis; Chicago; Nashville; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Greenville, S.C.; Columbia, S.C.; Portland, Me.; and Bangor, Me.
Besides modernizing facilities at LaGuardia, Delta also is part of a $1.2 billion expansion project at JFK to add nine additional gates to Terminal 4. That terminal, which will become Delta's international gateway, will include a state-of-the-art baggage handling system, additional Customs and security lanes and one of the largest Delta Sky Clubs in the airline's system.
At JFK, Delta also serves domestic cities with new routes that include Austin, Texas; Jacksonville, Fla.; Louisville, Ky.; Charleston, S.C.; Dayton, Ohio; Elmira, N.Y.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Greensboro, N.C. and New Orleans. Customers can use Delta's international hub at JFK to reach five continents, a claim no other airline can make.
Delta's three metropolitan area airports carried 20.8 million domestic and international passengers in 2011. The preferred airline for New York travelers expects that number will rise to 24.6 million in 2012, mostly due to the increase at LaGuardia. The airline has 7,000 New York-based employees.
A portion of travel for some itineraries may be on the Delta Connection® carriers: Chautauqua, Comair, Compass Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines, GoJet Airlines, Mesaba, Pinnacle Airlines, Shuttle America dba Delta Shuttle, and SkyWest.