LaGuardia Airport terminal earns UNESCO ‘best new airport’ award

LaGuardia Airport is the “best new airport in the world.” Really.

The Queens travel hub’s new $4 billion Terminal B has won this year’s UNESCO Prix Versailles architecture award for the world’s best new air travel facility, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.

Airports in Berlin, Germany and New Plymouth, New Zealand were also honored by UNESCO, or the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The airport Joe Biden once likened to a “third world country” is in the midst of $8 billion worth of rehab. Delta Airlines is wrapping up another $4 billion worth of work on a new Terminal C, which is scheduled to open spring 2022, officials said.

Private funds helped cover about two-thirds of the effort, which began in 2016.

LaGuardia Airport is in the midst of $8 billion worth of rehab.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
People move through LaGuardia Airport
Terminal B’s new arrivals and departures hall opened this year to rave reviews.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“Since beginning construction of a whole new LaGuardia five years ago, we promised an airport that would go from worst to best, taking its place among the world’s finest airports. That’s no longer a promise – it’s an achievement confirmed by a panel of international judges,” bragged Port Executive Director Rick Cotton in a statement.

Terminal B’s new arrivals and departures hall opened this year to rave reviews, including from The Points Guy, which titled its review “Hard to believe you’re at LGA.”

It’s a dramatic turnaround for an airport that Saturday Night Live skewered in 2020.

The new water feature at LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B
The new water feature at LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B.
Dennis A. Clark
The new water feature at LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B
LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B received the UNESCO Prix Versailles architecture award for the world’s best new air travel facility.
Dennis A. Clark

One issue remains for LaGuardia travelers: getting there.

Port officials are reviewing options to improve transit to the airport after Gov. Kathy Hochul nixed a $2 billion wrong-way AirTrain to eastern Queens championed by her disgraced predecessor ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo.