Photographer: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

America’s Worst Airport to Get $4 Billion Swedish Massage

Stockholm builder Skanska will lead makeover of New York's LaGuardia

Someday, LaGuardia Airport will be quite a bit less awful.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey yesterday took a small but critical step toward relieving travelers of the New York airport as they know it. After years of bureaucratic to-and-fro, the Port Authority, which operates LaGuardia, selected a group to manage a nearly $4 billion overhaul of LaGuardia’s Central Terminal Building.

The project, detailed here, will offer fliers a three- rather than two-level terminal, with 35 gates spread across 1.3 million square feet, up from 835,000 square feet. It will accommodate 17.5 million of the 34 million passengers LaGuardia expects annually by 2030. The group is led by Swedish construction company Skanska AB and a Canadian airport operator.

LaGuardia was conceived in the 1930s, when airplanes were far smaller and few imagined the pace of airline traffic growth to come. Now, “with respect to commercial airline service, the terminal is functionally obsolete,” the Port Authority said late last year in a report. The current airport, which was last overhauled in 1964, was designed for only 8 million people a year and already exceeds that by some 5 million. LaGuardia draws persistent scorn on social media, as a New York traveler who flew there on Wednesday from Beijing's gleaming Capital Airport illustrated by smartphone:

https://twitter.com/AirlineFlyer/status/603667258196533249

About two-thirds of the project's tab will come from the construction consortium, which will collect fees from the airport over time, in the type of public-private partnership that has become common to many large infrastructure projects. 

In Manhattan, Skanska is working on a new Second Avenue subway line and westward extension of the No. 7 line. The company constructed MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, where the New York Jets and Giants play, Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York, and the 10-mile-long Öresund Bridge in Malmo, Sweden.

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