Newark Liberty Airport selects Arup as airport planner

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Newark Liberty Airport (EWR) in New Jersey has selected aviation planning and design firm Arup to oversee the vision plan for its redevelopment, in partnership with architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

The planner will be tasked with developing a comprehensive development strategy and blueprint – including extensive local community outreach and participation – to accommodate future growth and demand, improve the travel experience and identify opportunities to increase the sustainability and resilience of the facility.

Arup and SOM will analyze the airport’s existing capacity and provide a framework to accommodate expected passenger and cargo growth through 2065. The two firms will oversee architectural, planning, engineering and business development services for Newark Liberty Airport, while factoring in the short- and long-term impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the airport’s travel volumes and customer demands as part of the planning process.

The planners will also look to increase the airport’s economic value to the region by maximizing job creation and economic opportunities in Newark, Elizabeth and throughout the Port District. Partnering with local residents and businesses, community-based organizations and elected officials will be key to ensuring the successful outline of a plan.

In addition, they plan to develop strategies for more operationally efficient parking facilities, road access and the potential creation of new Ground Transportation Center (GTC) facilities to meet current and future needs. The researchers hired to conduct the study will also be asked to identify new technology resources to improve the customer experience and wayfinding capabilities.

Newark Liberty is in the midst of an airport-wide transformation, with three projects underway totaling about US$5.3bn in public and private investment. First, a new Terminal A is scheduled to open later in 2022. Measuring approximately 93,000m2, the US$2.7bn facility is in the final stages of construction. Once completed, it will replace the outdated current Terminal A and incorporate a new roadway access network and additional terminal-front parking. As part of the EWR redevelopment program, a Consolidated Rent-A-Car (ConRac) facility combined with Port Authority-funded public parking also is in the final stages of construction with a partial opening scheduled later this year and a full opening in 2023.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said, “This announcement reflects our ongoing and determined progress toward the transformation of Newark Liberty International Airport. Well on its way to transitioning from vision to reality, this overhaul will produce world-class facilities befitting one of the most pivotal transportation hubs in the world. By selecting internationally renowned firms Arup and SOM to oversee the Newark vision plan, the Port Authority has demonstrated its intent to help Newark Liberty reach its maximum potential for the benefit of all New Jersey residents and visitors.”

Kevin O’Toole, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, added, “The Newark vision plan will amount to a complete reimagining of what Newark Liberty can be for Newark and Elizabeth, the state of New Jersey and the region as a whole. Newark Liberty is a place steeped in history, and the Newark vision plan will serve as the pivotal next chapter in its future. Alongside our elected officials, community leaders and airport stakeholders, we will write it together.”

Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority, commented, “The Port Authority is driving a US$30bn investment in transforming the region’s airports into a network of modern, world-class gateways. The vision plan for Newark will guide its transformation into a 21st-century best-in-class global hub, and the selection of these two world-renowned firms will help us advance that vision.”

Tom Kennedy, project director and Americas east aviation leader for Arup, said, “We are excited for the opportunity to collaborate with the Port Authority to position Newark Liberty International Airport as a global gateway for New Jersey and the tri-state area. The Arup team, including SOM and over 20 other firms, including many from the Newark and Elizabeth area, are committed to supporting the Port Authority in creating a model for a sustainable and community-focused hub that can help reduce our impact on the climate, and at the same time foster economic growth for a more resilient future.”

Laura Ettelman, managing partner at SOM, concluded, “Newark Liberty International Airport is a foundational piece of our transportation network, connecting New Jersey, New York and beyond, to the world. SOM is honored to partner with Arup and the Port Authority to reimagine, revitalize and futureproof the EWR campus. Working together, we will create a more sustainable, efficient campus with increased capacity and smoother operations for airlines, and above all, elevate the passenger experience.”

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