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  • Dylan Intwala, AIT

Newark Airport's NEW Terminal A

The full details of Newark Airport's $2.7 billion Redevelopment Plan

Newark Liberty International Airport, located partly in Elizabeth and partly in Newark, New Jersey (NJ), is one of the busiest airports in the world. In 2019, the airport transported more than 46 million passengers through its three terminals. But, as time goes on and the New York metropolitan area continues to grow in population, Newark’s old, existing infrastructure will not be able to handle the heavy load of travelers every day. Newark’s Terminal A, built in 1973, has undergone the least amount of upgrades of the three terminals. Terminal C, solely operated by United Airlines (owned and operated by Continental Airlines prior to its merger with United in 2011), underwent a major renovation process from 1998 to 2003, costing almost $1.2 billion. Terminal B, the main international terminal at Newark, underwent a smaller but still major renovation in 2008, costing around $400 million. Terminal A continues to grow older, and as flight numbers increase, the usability and efficiency of Terminal A continue to decrease.

In 2016, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), the main operator of the airport, announced a $2.7 billion dollar development plan. The EWR Redevelopment Plan, as it was known, included the complete demolition of the existing Terminal A, the relocation and construction of a new one million square foot Terminal A, 140 acres of airside expansion and maintenance, a redesigned roadway system for major highways near the airport’s entrance (I-95, I-78, Route 22, Route 1/9), and the construction of a 2,750 space public parking center combined with a large consolidated rental car center (ConRAC). The second part of the plan included the complete removal and reconstruction of AirTrain EWR, slated for completion in late 2026.

Designed by Grimshaw Architects (in partnership with STV, another architectural firm), the new Terminal A at EWR will contain 33 plane gates, situated in a T-shape on the southwest corner of the airport’s land area. Terminal A currently services JetBlue, Air Canada, Air Canada Express, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, American Eagle, and some United Express services; once the new terminal is complete, more airlines will be included. A new roadway, breaking off of US 1/9, will take drivers around a bend to begin a beautiful approach towards a modern, sleek Terminal A building. As drivers approach the terminal, the roadway will split into an upper level (Departures) and a lower level (Arrivals).

The lower level will include open road space for buses, shuttles, and taxis on one side and an organized passenger pick-up for drivers on the other. The upper level, covered by a glass canopy with built-in solar cells, will contain ample curbside space to assist passenger unloading, while clear and visible signs will direct passengers towards their specific airline. As travelers head inside the Check-In Hall, they will be greeted by natural light and an open, refreshing design. Multiple check-in options will be available for passengers based on need, while easy wayfinding makes for quick access to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checks and baggage claims. The TSA Check areas will be surrounded by greenery to reduce stress and create a direct passageway to the gate area. The terminal’s security area will also include international customs & declaration, allowing Terminal A to service international flights. Promptly following the security, passengers will be greeted by an open, circle-shaped area where escalators and elevators lead to visible, informative flight information boards and concession shops dressed in natural light and greenery. Premium lounges of Terminal A airlines will also be located in the central area, allowing passengers to relax before their final destination in the airport: the gate area.

Three wings combine to hold 33 gates for planes with clear wayfinding elements, assisting an easy search of gate locations for travelers. Interactive information boards with multiple languages assist arriving passengers in heading towards customs (for international passengers) and baggage claims. Open views while descending the escalator provide simple directions to baggage claims, which include large boards to guide passengers to the correct conveyor or the Port Authority Help Center. After passing the entrance to the AirTrain station, passengers will head outside towards an organized transport area with specified areas for buses, taxis, shuttles, pick-ups, and a bridge to the ConRAC.

ConRAC, a large center for parking and rental cars will finally consolidate the numerous rental companies into one building. At present, rental car centers are scattered throughout a two-mile radius of the airport, with only select companies reachable via shuttles or AirTrain Newark. ConRAC will include an easily accessible center for travelers to return to parked vehicles or for visitors to rent a car all within a short walk from Terminal A.

Terminal A and Newark Airport is set to undergo its largest expansion since 1973 when the terminal buildings were built. With the addition of ConRAC, the new Terminal A, and numerous other improvements around the airport, leaders hope that EWR will become the forefront of East Coast travel.

Works Cited:

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (2018). EWR Terminal One Program Briefing Book (Q3 2018 V2).

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (n.d.). About – New Terminal A Redevelopment. Newark Liberty International Airport. Retrieved February 2, 2022, from

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (n.d.). Parking Facility - Newark Liberty International Airport. Newark Liberty International Airport. Retrieved February 2, 2022, from

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (n.d.). Landside Improvements - Newark Liberty International Airport. Newark Liberty International Airport. Retrieved February 2, 2022, from

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (n.d.). About - AirTrain EWR - Newark Liberty International Airport. Newark Liberty International Airport. Retrieved February 2, 2022, from

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