New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey joined Port Authority executives and elected leaders at Newark Liberty International Airport today for the historic gateway’s 75th anniversary, celebrating its important contributions to the aviation industry and the region.
\"Much of the story of air travel in the United States was written right here at Newark Liberty International Airport,\" Governor McGreevey said. \"This great airport, credited with many important firsts in aviation, continues to serve as a gateway for domestic and international travel, and as an economic engine for New Jersey and the region.\"
The airport supports about 25,000 on-site jobs, while an additional 110,000 jobs in the region are derived from airport activity, Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said.
\"As we near the completion of an unprecedented $3.8 billion public-private redevelopment program here at Newark Liberty International Airport, we can look around and see how we’ve married the rich history at Newark Airport with the promise of a great future,\" Chairman Coscia said. \"Among the many things we have delivered to our customers are two new parking garages, AirTrain Newark, three enhanced and expanded terminals, new cargo facilities, roadway improvements that create better access for vehicles, and runway improvements that increase efficiency for aircraft.\"
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, \"The community at Newark Liberty International Airport takes great pride in this historic milestone, and rightly so. The people of the Port Authority and their airport partners strive every day to provide the best in customer service, so that the traveling public is ensured a safe, secure and enjoyable experience.\"
Newark Liberty International Airport’s legacy mirrors that of the aviation industry itself, which this year celebrates the centennial of flight. Today’s event, for example, was held in the airport’s Building One, which was originally dedicated by aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart in 1935 and served as the first passenger terminal in the nation. The building, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1979, now houses the airport’s professional and police staff, aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment, and airport operations equipment, as well as a display of historic photos, artifacts and memorabilia.
Newark Airport’s important role in U.S. aviation history goes well beyond Building One’s status as the nation’s first passenger terminal. Other aviation firsts that took place at Newark Airport include:
- The nation’s first air traffic controller, and the first air traffic control tower, which is still housed in Building One and has been restored.
- The nation’s first paved runway.
- The nation’s first runway with lighting, which permitted nighttime operations.
- The nation’s first airport weather station.
By 1939, Newark Airport was the nation’s busiest aviation facility, handling 481,000 passengers – a huge number then, but less than 2 percent of the 29.2 million passengers the airport handled last year.
Throughout World War II, U.S. military forces used the airport as a staging area. In 1946, the airport reopened for commercial business, and two years later, the Port of New York Authority (later renamed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) entered into a lease agreement with the city of Newark to develop and operate the airport.
Under the Port Authority’s stewardship, Newark Airport continued to grow. The airport was expanded by hundreds of acres, new terminals and cargo centers opened, and a monorail (later renamed AirTrain Newark and extended to the Northeast Corridor Rail Line) was built.
In 2002, an agreement between the Port Authority and the city of Newark extended the agency’s lease on the airport through 2065, ensuring the airport will continue to be a vibrant, vital part of the economy for decades to come, providing widespread benefits for people throughout the region.
In recent years, a $3.8 billion public-private redevelopment program has brought a host of enhancements and improvements to all areas of the airport, including terminals, parking areas, rail access, roadways, runways and cargo areas. Other recent improvements include E-ZPass Plus, which will be available at Newark Airport parking lots and garages by month’s end. This innovative program, which also is available at John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports, allows customers to pay for airport parking with their E-ZPass tags, saving time and speeding exits.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.