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jazzyken
12-09-2004, 10:08 AM
Newark Airport plans $280M expansion
Five-year project to be approved by P.A. today would add a new level and security to congested Terminal B
Thursday, December 09, 2004
BY RON MARSICO
Star-Ledger Staff
Newark Liberty International Airport's cramped Terminal B, which handles dozens of daily international flights, will undergo a $280 million expansion as part of a five-year construction project the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is expected to approve today.

The work, officials said, will improve both the physical configuration and security of the terminal, which is used by numerous overseas carriers, including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, KLM and Air France, as well as domestic carriers such as Delta and Northwest.

Ticketing areas will be enlarged and new ones built, though no new gates will be added, one official said. A third level will be added below ground -- in what was once a parking garage -- to increase concourse space.

When completed, the revamped Terminal B will mirror Terminal C with the upper level handling international travel, the middle level handling domestic departures and the new lower level reserved for domestic arrivals, Port Authority officials said.

More security checkpoint areas will be created to help alleviate passenger bottlenecks during peak travel periods. Additionally, for the first time, the Port Authority plans to integrate explosive detection machines with a conveyer-belt system to process checked luggage faster.

Newark Airport's federal security screeners must now load each piece of checked baggage by hand onto the machines -- a labor-intensive and time-consuming process.

The Port Authority, the bistate agency that operates the airport, will be able to apply for reimbursement of up to 75 percent of the in-line baggage system's costs from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. The Port Authority has balked about paying for any of the system; officials have said all costs should be borne by the federal government.

"It's great for the airport, great for the region," acting Gov. Richard Codey of the expansion. "There are certain security issues this helps. We need the room, simple as that. ...There's no question that air traffic is up significantly."

Newark Airport handled 29.4 million passengers in 2003. Though that number has risen this year, it is still below the peak of 34.2 million passengers in 2000. Even so, Port Authority officials are projecting significant growth between now and 2021 when 45 million passengers are expected to use the three terminals.

Between 60 and 65 international flights use Terminal B on an average day, compared with the 80 to 120 international flights operated out of Terminal C by Continental Airlines, which is by far airport's biggest single carrier.

Some 10,000 fliers depart from Terminal B each day, with another 10,000 leaving from Terminal A and 20,000 from Terminal C.

Terminal A had been slated for an expansion, but that project has been on hold following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the subsequent economic downturn and the overall slump in the airline industry. Officials said they decided to proceed with the Terminal B project because the need for expansion there is greater.

"I would say anyplace at Newark could use an expansion," said Keith Herman, 37, of Roxbury, a self-employed computer analyst who uses the airport once or twice a month. "It's terrible to fly in and out of Newark."

Herman, who said he mostly uses Terminals C and A, offered a suggestion to the Port Authority's engineers if they're going to design Terminal B like the sprawling Terminal C: Install more automatic people-movers.

"It's an unreasonable distance to walk if you have one of those gates on the end," Herman said of Terminal C's configuration. "Somehow, design (Terminal B) so the distance between gates is less or make it easier to get to the gates."

The newly expanded terminal is expected to create about 700 permanent jobs, according to Port Authority projections.

"It's a great project because it builds facilities to meet what we know is an existing need," Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia said. "Newark Airport is not a regional airport. It's an international airport. ... We think it's going to attract other carriers."

Coscia said Codey, who became acting governor last month, has advocated the expansion of Terminal B.

"Early in my discussions with Governor Codey, he made it clear Newark Airport and its continued growth should be a priority," Coscia said. A "part of achieving that priority should be achievements that enhance the security of that airport."

5Reasons
12-09-2004, 10:15 AM
But here's the real question that shows how Newark has been ill-served by its
"leaders" over the last 50 or so years. Newark has one of busiest airports and the 3rd largest port and yet has, historically, received little to nothing. For years, organized crime collected off of the port and the Port Authority is New Jersey's Borg. Newark leaders have to demand accountability in getting its share. Newark should NOT have to undergo high taxes when it has TWO BILLION DOLLAR public entities generating revenue.

But we all know our "leaders" -- as long as they're getting a piece of the pie, who cares about the citzens.

jazzyken
12-09-2004, 10:17 AM
Agreed 5,

As residents what do we do??? See I am always one to see a problem, talk about it to get answers and actually do something!!!

Can this be pushed by our beautiful counsel since administration "will" not do anything?