Doppelmayr Will Design and Construct AirTrain Tech at EWR

Jan. 2, 2024
The contract includes $570 million for design and construction. The new system is expected to open in 2029.

Doppelmayr, a market leader in cable-propelled transport systems, has been selected by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the first phase of a multi-phase procurement process to replace the existing AirTrain system at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). The AirTrain Newark Replacement Program will replace the current outmoded system with a modern 2.5-mile automated people mover train system.

Doppelmayr will play a key role in developing the new AirTrain Newark system. The contract includes $570 million for design and construction, with an estimated $385 million over 20 years, net present value, for operation and maintenance of the automated people mover system and its vehicles. The new AirTrain system is expected to open in 2029.

“By advancing the replacement of AirTrain Newark, we further build upon Newark Liberty’s transformation into the modern, world-class airport our region deserves,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “This project marks a massive win-win not only for the tens of thousands of passengers who utilize AirTrain Newark daily, but for our residents in adjacent communities as well. While the revamped AirTrain will improve efficiency and connectivity at Newark Liberty, the project will also promote workforce development opportunities and good-paying local jobs, including for minority- and women-owned businesses.”

“This is a critical step in our wide-ranging efforts to revitalize and modernize Newark Liberty International Airport,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “Given Doppelmayr’s experience and expertise, we know the firm will be a great partner in bringing our travelers the reliable, efficient transportation they deserve, surrounded by world-class terminals and amenities.”

“We are committed to driving this critical project forward, and this multi-step procurement process does it in a way that’s manageable and encourages competition,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “The selection of Doppelmayr underscores our determination to deliver travelers a world-class customer experience at our airports, including modern, reliable mass transit options.”

“Doppelmayr is proud to partner with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the development of the new AirTrain Newark,” said Markus Schrenttewein, President Doppelmayr Cable Car America, Inc. “The Doppelmayr Group has a large number of similar projects to its name in the US, namely the Oakland Airport Connector and systems in Las Vegas. For AirTrain Newark, Doppelmayr will place a special emphasis on creating value for the local community.”

In addition to the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the automated people mover system and its vehicles, the first procurement phase also includes the furnishing, delivery, installation, testing and commissioning of the system technology components. Those components include train control, electrical power, communications, propulsion, and Maintenance and Control Facility (MCF) equipment. Future project procurement phases will include contracts related to the system’s guideway and stations, maintenance and control facility, pedestrian connections, and demolition of the existing system, among others.

Doppelmayr was selected after a rigorous review process, following a Request for Qualifications issued in December 2022 and a Request for Proposals issued in March 2023.

The contract continues the Port Authority’s mandate to create equitable economic opportunities at its major capital projects. To this end, Doppelmayr has committed to making good-faith efforts to meet specific benchmarks around the hiring of minority-owned business enterprises, women-owned business enterprises, service-disabled veteran-owned business enterprises, and locally owned business enterprises, with those from the cities of Newark and Elizabeth prioritized.

The firm is also required to develop a locally based workforce development program, with goals to hire program participants for future work on the new system’s construction and operation. Additional details regarding work and contracting opportunities are available on the EWR Redevelopment website.

AirTrain Newark serves as the primary means for millions of passengers to transfer between the three passenger terminals at Newark Liberty, parking, rental car facilities, and regional rail transit via the Northeast Corridor Rail Link Station, with connections to NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak rail service. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the AirTrain carried an average of 33,000 passengers per day, or approximately 12 million passengers per year. The existing AirTrain, in operation since 1996, is reaching the end of its useful life, requires extensive maintenance and repair, and cannot adequately meet forecasted demand.


Redeveloping Newark Liberty International Airport

The Port Authority has embarked on a complete redevelopment of Newark Liberty International Airport that began with the opening of Terminal A – the centerpiece of an airport-wide renaissance designed to establish the airport as a world-class gateway for the New Jersey and New York region.

Earlier this year, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners also authorized $12 million for the planning and preliminary design of the EWR Station Access Project, which is expected to increase public transit access for the South Ward neighborhood to Newark Liberty International Airport and New York City for the underserved communities in Newark and Elizabeth, including a one-seat ride to New York Penn Station’s Moynihan Train Hall and on Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT direct Northeast Corridor services.

The next phase of the Port Authority’s ongoing transformation of Newark Liberty International Airport will be developed through the work of a world-class airport master planner selected by the agency last year. The EWR Vision Plan — which will serve as a framework for future development through 2065 – will incorporate plans for long-term economic growth, sustainability projects, and multimodal access to the airport for both work and travel.