Arup to oversee transformation of Newark Liberty International Airport


Architects Skidmore, Owings & Merill and Arup to collaborate on vision plan for major US airport.

Arup has been selected by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to oversee an ambitious vision plan for the future development of Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), working in partnership with Skidmore, Owings & Merill (SOM).

Arup will develop a comprehensive development strategy and blueprint that will include extensive local community outreach and participation. The plan will accommodate future growth and demand, improve the travel experience and identify opportunities for enhancing the sustainability and resiliency of the facility.

Phil Murphy, New Jersey governor, commented: “The 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 the world-class facilities befitting of 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.”

“The Newark Vision Plan will amount to a complete reimagining of what Newark Liberty can be for Newark & Elizabeth, the state of New Jersey and the region as a whole,” said port authority chairman Kevin O’Toole. “Newark Liberty is a place steeped in history and the Newark Vison 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,” he said.

Arup and SOM will be analysing the airport’s existing capacity and providing a comprehensive framework to accommodate expected passenger and cargo growth through the year 2065. As part of this project, they will oversee architectural, planning, engineering, and business development services for EWR, while factoring in the short- and long-term impacts of Covid-19 on the airport’s travel volumes and customer demands as part of the planning process.

Commenting on the announcement, Arup’s Americas East aviation leader Tom Kennedy 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-states 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, said: “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, revitalise, and future-proof 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.”

Arup and SOM also will be looking beyond the airport proper, seeking ways to increase the economic value of the airport to the region by maximising job creation and economic opportunities in Newark, Elizabeth, and throughout the port district. Partnering with local community residents, local businesses, community-based organisations and elected officials will be key to ensuring the successful outline of a plan.

In addition, they will be developing strategies for more operationally efficient parking facilities, road access and the potential creation of new ground transportation centre facilities to meet current and future needs. Experts hired to conduct the study will also be asked to identify new cutting-edge technology resources to improve the customer experience and wayfinding capabilities.

Newark Liberty is in the midst of an airport-wide transformation, with three major projects underway totaling about $5.3bn in public and private investment. Pre-pandemic, Newark Liberty ranked as the US’s 12th busiest airport in total passengers, with 33 airlines serving more than 47.5 million customers in 2019 while offering non-stop service to more than 160 destinations globally. Newark Liberty also serves as a powerful economic engine for the region, with about 23,000 people employed in airport-related jobs.