Hurry Up and Wait: The Evolution of Newark Airport

Prolonged delays and extensive security check procedures haven't been the only additions to Newark Airport over the years.

C.P. Cushing/Robertstock.

THEN: Boarding a Boston-bound American Airlines Condor at Newark Airport was a simple matter in 1930: Passengers just walked to the runway. The airport, which cost $6 million to build, had opened two years earlier on 68 acres of reclaimed swampland along the Passaic River. The first major commercial airport in the New York metro area—and the first anywhere with a paved runway—Newark was the busiest such facility in the world during its first decade.


NOW: The serpentine lines at today’s TSA security checkpoints, left, have made trips through Newark Liberty International Airport anything but simple. That’s true of airports everywhere in the post-9/11 era, but Newark’s busy terminals have made air travel particularly frustrating. In 2011, the airport clocked 410,013 flights, ushering 33,711,372 passengers through its gates. That’s an awful lot of travelers shuffling around in their socks.

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