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by Alex Palmer | October 22, 2014
Groups traveling to New York City may soon be flying in to a new and improved airport. On Oct. 20, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would be moving forward on its plans to renovate and modernize LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport.  

During his State of the State Address on Jan. 9, 2014, the Governor noted that New York City's airports have fallen behind other major international and U.S. city's facilities -- "LaGuardia Airport is ranked as the worst airport in America," Cuomo said -- and pledged that New York would take over the long-delayed construction plans from the agency which operates them, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

At an event on Oct. 20 with Vice President Joe Biden, Cuomo announced that plans to update these airports would move forward, beginning with the launch of Master Plan Design Competitions for both LaGuardia and JFK, with entries due in 90 days. There was no discussion of adding new runways to either airport. Cuomo also promised to overhaul Republic Airport in Long Island and Stewart International Airport in the Hudson Valley.

The Master Plan Design Competition for LaGuardia Airport will ask for designers across the world to submit a comprehensive plan for enhancing the airport. This includes transportation improvements (including high-speed ferries and rail service); a new airport layout allowing for easier access; top-notch amenities, food, and retail offerings; and a stronger infrastructure to protect the site from extreme weather. It will not affect the already-planned work on a new central terminal.

For JFK, Cuomo said that the state would be seeking designs that would enhance the transportation network, including the existing AirTrain which transports passengers between terminals, parking, and the new York City subway; improved amenities "that are reflective of the New York region;" and upgraded facilities. The plan would also look at the potential need for increased hotel capacity in the airport area.

"The No. 1 job of government is to promote economic growth and prosperity, and one of the best ways to drive commerce is by investing in infrastructure that connects New York with local, national and international markets," Governor Cuomo said, speaking at an aeronautics school in the borough of Queens. "Our airport modernization plan not only enhances how our individual airports look and act in the 21st Century -- but addresses how they must fundamentally work together to strategically grow New York's economy."