USA. Vantage Airport Group is celebrating the completion of the first phase of the US$5.1 billion transformation of La Guardia Terminal B.

The LaGuardia Terminal B project is the largest public-private partnership in US aviation history and is expected to “completely redefine the guest experience at LaGuardia”, the group said.

A media event yesterday was attended by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Port Authority of New York and Jersey executives and key project partners. The new concourse is scheduled to open officially tomorrow (1 December).

“A milestone that will transform the LaGuardia experience”: The new Terminal B concourse opens tomorrow.

Vantage, as part of LaGuardia Gateway Partners (LGP), is leading the management, operations and commercial development at the existing Terminal B as it also oversees construction of the new terminal, a facility it will operate through 2050. LGP was selected in 2016 by Governor Cuomo and the Port Authority to redevelop Terminal B.

Vantage Airport Group Chair and CEO George Casey said: “We applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo’s transformative vision for LaGuardia and New York’s other gateway airports, and are glad to work with the Port Authority and our partners at LGA, including the airlines, to help bring it to life.

“Vantage is very proud of our role as lead investor, overseeing the construction programme and managing and operating Terminal B. Today’s milestone is the first of many that will entirely transform the experience at LaGuardia for passengers, airlines and employees.”

New York’s vitality has influenced the design of the new concourse, which also introduces new dining options selected to represent the best of the city.

The new concourse features the first 11 of 35 new gates at Terminal B. Vantage Airport Group said architectural elements, including 55ft ceilings, are inspired by New York’s vibrancy and verticality. The concourse offers seating areas with charging stations, spacious restrooms, a children’s play area with interactive games, park space and a world-class selection of the best in New York food, beverage and retail offerings.

Food & beverage outlets include Shake Shack, La Chula Bar and Taqueria, Osteria Fusco, Kingside, Irving Farm Coffee Roasters and 5 Boroughs Food Emporium.

La Guardia Dufry Duty Free Shops heads the retail and service options, which include New York favourites District Market, FAO Schwarz, McNally Jackson, MAC Cosmetics, Hudson and SpaHere outlets.

Spacious restroom facilities and areas for nursing mothers are included in the new concourse.

The next milestone for the new terminal is expected in 2020, when all Terminal B passengers – nearly 15 million annually – will check in, pass through security screening and explore concessions in the 820,000sq ft head house, currently under construction.

When complete, the new Terminal B will include 1.3 million sq ft of new space, as well as dual pedestrian bridges spanning active taxi lanes, a first in the world.

Innovative construction phasing has included building over-top of the current operation, to allow the terminal to remain fully functional while under construction.