LaGuardia Airport opens pristine new concourse, the kickoff of its massive renovation – USA TODAY

LaGuardia Airport’s new concourse is open. 

Nearly a dozen gates opened Saturday in Terminal B as part of the airport’s plan to renovate the dated facility. The modernized concourse offers additional dining and shopping options for travelers. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on hand Thursday for a ceremonial opening with local officials in Queens. He said the improvements will transform the airport into a facility “worthy of the state of New York.”

“This was an embarrassment,” Cuomo said of LaGuardia, adding that the changes are proof the government is capable of taking on large infrastructure projects.

“New York once again shows the way forward for this nation. If we can do it here, and set the example, you will see the nation follow,” he said.

He added on Twitter Sunday that travelers are “going to love the new LaGuardia Airport.”

The improvements are part of an $8 billion blueprint to revamp LaGuardia, including an addition of 2.7 million square feet to make six new concourses, 72 gates and two new arrival and departure halls.

Other renovations include rail service between LaGuardia and midtown Manhattan and 14 miles of new road connecting motorists to the facility.

LaGuardia ranked as this year’s worst airport in the country, according to a study by the popular frequent-flier website The Points Guy. New York’s John F. Kennedy International and New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International rounded out the bottom two.

“Newark, Kennedy and LaGuardia all managed to make it in the bottom five. This is a combination of late departures, dated facilities – especially in the case of LaGuardia – and other criteria such as those,” said Julian Mark Kheel, editorial director at The Points Guy.

LaGuardia services about 30 million passengers each year.

Contributing: The Associated Press, Arizona Republic’s Melissa Yeager

Related: Phoenix Sky Harbor is named the best U.S. airport for the second time

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