10/01/1928: Newark Liberty International Airport Opens

This is the story of New York's Newark Liberty International Airport, opened today in 1928.



October 1, 2023

DALLAS — Today in Aviation, New York's Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) opened in 1928. The facility became the first major airport in the metropolitan area and quickly grew to become the world's busiest commercial airport.

Initially known as Newark Metropolitan Airport, 68 acres of land were reclaimed from the Passaic River to accommodate the facility. EWR then became the first airport in the United States and, reputedly, the world to have a paved runway.

It was also the first in the world to have a dedicated Air Traffic Control tower, which opened in 1948. Its Art-Deco terminal building, the second airport terminal in the world, opened in 1935.

During WWII, EWR was requisitioned by the US Army Air Corps for logistical operations. Once hostilities ended, the airport was returned to the New York Authority, and passenger flights recommenced in 1946. Investment followed by a new terminal, hangers, and runway (04/22).

Albert Einstein at Newark Airport in April 1939. Photo: Lou Shornick, http://www.loushornick.com, CC BY-SA 3.0


After becoming Newark International Airport in the 1970s, the facility expanded rapidly. Two new terminals (A and B) were added in 1973. Terminal C was completed in June 1988. Expansion continued in the 1990s with a new monorail system, which linked the three-terminal opening in 1996.

'Liberty' was added to the airport's title in 2002 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. United Flight 93, one of the hijacked airliners, had left EWR bound for San Francisco (SFO). In 2019 the airport handled over 46 million passengers.

Its biggest airline is United Airlines (UA), which operates around 65% of all flights from the airport.

Featured image: Newark Liberty International Airport, taken from Continental Flight 99 on a Boeing 777-200ER. Photo: Fan Railer, Public Domain