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New York’s LaGuardia Airport to become world-class facility by 2019

Often the butt of frequent fliers’ jokes – and, in most cases, deservedly so – the much maligned LaGuardia Airport in New York City will get a $4 billion refurbishment, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced, that will involve a new unifying design and the rebuilding of a terminal.

You know things aren’t good when people like Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden refer to flying in and out of LaGuardia as a “third-world” experience. As important as LaGuardia is, the airport has long outgrown its capacity to handle increasing traffic, while facilities are in need of repair.

The first-half of the project is expected to begin in 2016, subject to final approval, and will combine the distinct terminals into one structure that would facilitate easier transfers while improving amenities, which we presume would include the latest in airport technologies. It would involve demolishing an entire terminal and replacing it with a larger facility that makes up the western-half of the new unified terminal. The taxiway space would be enlarged to improved safety for planes; using an island-gate system that connects to the main terminal, passengers would cross over bridges that allow planes to taxi underneath. These first-half projects are expected to open in 2019, if all goes to plan.

Related: OTG’s techie food hall at LaGuardia Airport is one of the first to accept Apple Pay

The second-half of the project – expected to be completed 18 months after the first phase opens – will see further development of the unified terminal on the eastern-half, spearheaded by Delta Air Lines, among other improvements. When completed, the new airport will have two miles of new taxiway space that’s more efficient: fewer idling planes on the taxiway means a reduction of carbon emissions. Governor Cuomo also proposed improved transportations services outside the airport, including reconfiguration of roads.

Once it’s all done, LaGuardia will look nothing like it is today, and LaGuardia may finally get to wipe off the disses and become the envy of airports in the U.S.

Full details of Governor Cuomo’s plans can be found here. In addition to LaGuardia, the governor also revealed plans for other New York City airports. The historic TWA terminal at JFK International Airport would become a new hotel, among other improvements to modernize that facility.