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Queens Chronicle

Proposed LaGuardia project may create jobs

Possible Delta and US Airways deal would connect airline terminals

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Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 3:54 pm, Sat Jan 26, 2013.

A pending project at LaGuardia Airport is predicted to create several hundred jobs in Queens and 6,000 jobs statewide.

A deal, which is awaiting approval by the federal Department of Transportation, would transfer 132 US Airways slots at LaGuardia to Delta Airlines, which would turn over 42 of its slots at Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC in exchange.

If approved, Delta would take control of US Airways Terminal C and start construction on a 600-foot connecter to link the terminal to Delta’s Terminal D and add one additional gate for a total of 29 gates at the two terminals.

Delta would also convert the US Airways lounge at Terminal C to a Sky Club.

According to Delta, the airline will spend $117 million to expand, renovate and consolidate the two terminals over the next two years, and the project will directly and indirectly create 6,000 jobs statewide between construction and operation of the terminals.

Several hundred jobs would be created in Queens alone, according to Delta spokesman Joseph Perone.

The jobs created will revolve around the running of the terminals, according to Perone.

The slot swap is expected to be approved by the DOT by the end of the year and plans to start construction would be worked out soon after that.

Also according to Perone, the project would allow Delta to “carry more than 2.2 million additional passengers to LaGuardia each year without adding further congestion in the tri-state area.”

According to the state’s Department of Labor, the number of unemployed people in Queens as of May was 88,200 out of a 1,135,700 person labor force.

According to Shital Patel, a DOL spokesperson, the addition of several hundred jobs would not put a significant dent it in the unemployment rate, but is, however, “notable.”

The number of unemployed people statewide as of May was 740,800 out of a 9,542,900 person labor force.

In 2010, there were 25,534 people employed in the air transportation industry in Queens County, which is 5.6 percent of total private employment in the borough, which Patel says is a significant amount.

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