Newark Airport’s New Terminal A Opens, With A Few Bumps

Newark Airport new Terminal A
Credit: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

After a month delay, Newark Liberty International Airport’s new Terminal A opened Jan. 12 to a rocky start. 

Opening day jitters included a litany of issues: throngs of passengers dealing with 1 hr. security lines, closed TSA pre-check, two security breaches, power failures, and check-in lines out the door—resulting in accounts of many missed flights. Ramp operations were struggling as well. A United Airlines pilot reported it took 2 hrs., 50 minutes to turn an Airbus A320 due to absence of personnel. 

The new terminal’s debut comes a day after the FAA’s NOTAM system triggered a national ground stop, the first since 9/11, which wreaked havoc across the U.S. aerospace system—resulting in over 10,000 flight delays and more than 1,300 cancellations nationwide. Flight Aware reported 293 or 47% departing flights were delayed and 40 flights or 6% were canceled at Newark Liberty (EWR) alone—which routinely tops the list of most delay-prone airports in America.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the $2.7 billion new facility is its largest investment ever in New Jersey and the largest design-build project in New Jersey history. The gleaming new terminal, unveiled in December 2022, was greenlit in 2018. It replaces the downtrodden old Terminal A, which opened in 1973 and will be demolished. As is the case at LaGuardia’s new Terminal B, a private operator—Munich Airport NJ LLC, a 100% subsidiary of Munich Airport US Holding LLC—is responsible for the new terminal’s operation and concessions.

Air Canada, American Airlines, JetBlue and select flights of market dominant United Airlines are the inaugural carriers at the new facility’s first phase of 21 common use gates. Delta Air Lines will follow-on later in the year when the next 12 gates come on-line. The one million ft.² terminal has a design capacity of approximately 14 million passengers annually. 

Terminal A is at the center of Newark Liberty’s airport-wide redevelopment, with three major projects underway totaling about $5.3 billion in public and private investment. These include runway rehabilitations, roadway improvements, and a new consolidated rental-car center. 

The Port Authority says it is investing over $30 billion in the region’s airports. As the LaGuardia project edges closer to completion, JFK is preparing for its overhaul with an expanded Terminal 4, new 23 gate international Terminal One, and JetBlue’s $3.9 new Terminal 6 set to first open in 2026. JFK’s Terminal 2, the airport’s oldest terminal still in existence dating back to 1962, closed to all departures on Jan. 10 with operations permanently ceasing on Jan. 15, 2023.

The next major new U.S. airport terminal opening is at Kansas City International (MCI), scheduled for March.

Chris Sloan

Chris Sloan is Air Transport World & Routes Senior Editor covering the Americas.