NYC-centric experiences fly at LaGuardia Terminal B

By Faye Bartle |

Suzette Noble

Suzette Noble, CEO, LaGuardia Gateway Partners. Photo: LaGuardia Gateway Partners.

In this exclusive interview, Suzette Noble, Chief Executive Officer of LaGuardia Gateway Partners (LGP), brings TRBusiness up to date on the dynamics at LaGuardia Terminal B, including how passengers are embracing the New York City centric shopping and dining experiences.

LGP is setting the bar high with its sleek management and development of the state-of-the-art LaGuardia Terminal B in New York, which last year became the first terminal in North America to achieve a five-star rating from Skytrax.

Since delivering the multi-billion dollar capital redevelopment project in 2022 – on time and on budget – it has become a shining example of effective, modern airport design.

Just recently, LaGuardia Airport, which is situated in Queens and serves select destinations in Canada and the Caribbean, was recognised in ACI World’s passenger surveyed ASQ Awards 2023 as one of the best airports in North America serving 25-40 million passengers.

“We’re so proud of these accomplishments but we can’t be complacent,” Noble told TRBusiness. “Our focus is always on continuous improvement for our operation and for Terminal B’s guest experience.”

LaGuardia Terminal B

LGP has recorded increases in guest sentiment scores following periods of terminal activations. Terminal B is home to Air Canada, American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.

LGP (composed of Vantage Airport Group, Meridiam, and JLC Infrastructure) regularly reviews guest surveys and analyses its commercial and operational performance to stay a step ahead.

“For example, we’ve recorded increases in guest sentiment scores following periods of terminal activations inclusive of performances, giveaways and photo opportunities, and more,” said Noble.

“We’ve also tracked increases in sales per enplanement that correlate with terminal activations in key locations. We will continue to further leverage these insights to tailor future activations in areas we’re confident will generate spend and guest sentiment.”

New York City centric

LaGuardia welcomed 30.6 million passengers in 2023, smashing its pre-pandemic record (in 2019) by 4%.

LaGuardia Terminal B

LaGuardia Terminal B

“It’s exciting to see LaGuardia achieving such high passenger volume and of course Terminal B is a major contributor,” said Noble.

The terminal’s carefully curated blend of much-loved local and national brands satisfies all tastes.

“For example, we know our guests love our coffee programme, which includes local partners such as Irving Farm Coffee Roasters and Zaro’s Family Bakery, as well as our national brand options like Starbucks and Dunkin’,” she said.

“We also offer a range of dining selections from premium sit-down experiences at Hunt & Fish Grill and Il Viaggio to quick serve options like Shake Shack and Dos Toros Taqueria to meet those preferences.”

LaGuardia Terminal B

LaGuardia Terminal B will welcome two new food concepts in 2024: Melt Shop in the western concourse and Mezze Café, pre-security.

Further to passengers’ enthusiasm for coffee, experiences that reflect the local culture and community are key.

“We’ve seen tremendous success and positive guest reception to Terminal B’s strong New York City-centric atmosphere which is woven throughout the terminal experience and upholstered by relevant local brands such as The Strand Bookstore, McNally Jackson Books, Eli’s Essentials, Zaro’s Family Bakery, Junior’s Restaurant and Cheesecake, and even through the Made in NY treats sold here,” she said.

“Our largest retail unit, Bowery Bay Shops, also features beloved brands such as Lego and Kate Spade and has even started selling luxury consignment handbags.”

Blazing a trail Noble was named LGP CEO in September and is the first woman and person of colour in the role.

“I believe my appointment is symbolic of our organisation’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity throughout the entire lifespan of the new Terminal B,” she said.

“The redevelopment project featured participation from over 300 extraordinarily talented companies across Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises and our commercial programme includes over 25% ACDBE participation.

“And today we celebrate our majority women-led executive leadership team, with whom I’m joined by our CFO Mercedes Rendon and new COO Klaudia FitzGerald. We continue to promote the importance of diversity and inclusivity in all facets of the aviation industry and proudly represent LGP’s commitments to these values every single day.”

A version of this feature first appeared in the TRBusiness March/April 2024 issue, as part of the annual Leading Americas Operators report. Click here to read the ezine.

The issue also features an exclusive interview with Sammy Patel, Vice President Commercial, Vantage Airport Group, who describes the ‘game-changing’ duty free and travel retail offer anticipated at the new John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport Terminal 6 as the competitive bidding round shifts gear.

READ MORE: Vantage Airport Group and Meridiam up stakes in LaGuardia Gateway Partners

READ MORE: Klaudia FitzGerald joins LaGuardia Gateway Partners as COO

READ MORE: Suzette Noble is named as new LaGuardia Gateway Partners CEO

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