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The new and revamped US airports coming in 2022 and beyond

Dec. 19, 2021
7 min read
LGA New Terminal B Headhouse Zach Griff - 41
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Despite the pandemic, there are big improvements coming to airports nationwide.

Whether it’s new construction or work finishing up on existing projects, there’s lots to look forward to if you’re passing through domestic airports over the coming months.

The big winners are the three largest airports in the New York metro area, which are all undergoing massive redevelopment projects. Other major airports are also getting big upgrades, and we’ll cover some of the highlights below.

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The new LaGuardia

Three of LaGuardia’s four terminals are getting big upgrades.

Work on the new Terminal B will be completed next year, when the final ten gates open in the Western Concourse. In addition to the new gates, a new pedestrian bridge will connect the headhouse to the Western Concourse.

Once complete, it’ll mark the end of the years-long Terminal B redevelopment project. American Airlines and JetBlue will occupy gates in the Western Concourse, with Air Canada, Southwest and United operating from the Eastern Concourse.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Delta’s LaGuardia hub, which occupies terminals C and D is also getting a big upgrade.

There, Delta is building a new Delta Sky Club, baggage claim, centralized TSA security checkpoint and more. Terminals C and D will be consolidated into one, brand-new facility. This means that all Delta passengers traveling in and out of LGA will be dropped off and picked up from the same place.

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Delta’s new terminal is set to officially open in spring 2022.

An overhauled New York-JFK

Delta’s hub in New York-JFK is also getting a big upgrade, though the expansion was recently scaled back from the pre-pandemic plans.

The revised Terminal 4 expansion plans recently received approval from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the major airports in the tri-state area around New York City. Under the revision, the expansion includes just two new narrowbody gates and eight regional jet gates added to the end of Concourse A.

(Slide courtesy of the Port Authority)

Additionally, there are $100 million in renovations planned for the existing check-in areas in Terminal 4, as well as a modified arrivals level curb to aid congestion.

The work is expected to start by early 2022.

Elsewhere at JFK, British Airways will consolidate its operations into American’s Terminal 8 next year. Work is already underway to build five new wide-body gates to Terminal 8, as well as add new lounges and a larger premium check-in space.

Finally, JetBlue’s plan to build a new Terminal 6 at JFK is back on track, after a pandemic delay.

In August, JetBlue and the office of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that shelved plans for a new Terminal 6 would now move forward, with 10 new gates opening by 2025.

New EWR terminal A

Newark's Liberty International Airport is getting a new flagship terminal. Set to open in spring 2022, the new Terminal A will replace the existing, aging facility with a host of flyer-friendly features.

(Rendering courtesy of the Port Authority)

At nearly one million square feet, the new Terminal A will house the existing airlines operating from the outdated Terminal A, including Air Canada, Alaska, American and JetBlue, as well as select United flights, which will continue to split operations from Terminals A and C.

Twenty-one of the total 33 gates are expected to open in the spring, with the remaining 12 gates coming online next fall.

Newark airport will soon be home to the world’s largest American Express Centurion Lounge. The issuer recently received approval for a 15-year lease for an 18,000-square-foot lounge, on the top floor of a new three-story extension to Terminal A.

The new lounge won’t just be the largest one in the network, it’ll also offer a slew of first-rate amenities that could make it the nicest one too. The construction timeline hasn’t been revealed yet.

Delta’s new LAX terminal

If you’ve recently traveled through Los Angeles International Airport, odds are that you’ve noticed the ongoing construction.

The upgrades are finally coming to fruition, beginning in the first quarter of 2022 with the opening of a new central headhouse bridging terminals 2 and 3.

Further phases of the project — dubbed the Delta “Sky Way” — will open throughout 2022 and into early 2023.

(Image courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

The Sky Way will feature new and revamped facilities for Delta flyers. One premium amenity travelers can look forward to is what the carrier is billing as the “largest Delta Sky Club found anywhere” that will include a year-round outdoor sky deck. Other features include a new Delta One check-in experience, consolidated security checkpoint and a connector inside security between Terminals 2, 3 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal — and much more.

Denver’s terminal expansions

Much of the Denver International Airport has been under construction for what feels like an eternity.

The expansion project includes two key components, a gate extension program and a renovation of the Great Hall headhouse.

The airport is building 39 new gates, increasing capacity by 30%, in a project that will lengthen each of Denver’s three passenger terminals with new gates, concessions, outdoor decks and more.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The first extended concourse — Gates B7 to B12 in B West — opened in November 2020 and serves as a preview of what’s to come for the airport. The next concourse extension, C East, will become operational next year. I toured the work in progress earlier this year, and things are definitely coming along.

The C East expansion will feature 16 new gates, all leased to Southwest. The new building will connect seamlessly with the existing concourse; once construction is finished, the temporary wall dividing the two areas will be demolished.

In addition to C East, construction is also ongoing on the Concourse A-West and B-East extensions. Both of these projects are also slated for completion in 2022.

In addition to extending the gate area, the main departure hall is also getting an overhaul. Phase 1 of this project, which includes a revamped check-in area, is already completed — great news for those who’ve been inconvenienced by the ongoing work for the past few years.

The next phase of the work is primarily focused on security enhancements, which began this summer and will continue until 2024.

Sea-Tac upgrades

Another airport undergoing a big redevelopment program is the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The Port of Seattle is wrapping up the finishing touches on the new international arrivals facility, which will officially open by the end of the year. The new facility will double the number of gates equipped to handle international flights, boost passenger capacity and increase the number and size of baggage claims.

New N terminal at SEA (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Altogether, the project will reduce the minimum connection time from international to domestic flights to 75 minutes.

Separately, the airport is also working on renovating the Central Terminal with enhanced dining and shopping options, better seating, ADA improvements and a new American Express Centurion Lounge. This redevelopment will open next year.

Bottom line

It's an exciting time for airports nationwide.

Despite the pandemic, construction projects continue to progress on schedule, with many grand openings happening next year. Some work has even been dramatically accelerated, like Delta's revamped LAX terminal, thanks to the significant reduction in passenger volume due to the pandemic.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.