Port Authority To Debut Avatar At Newark Airport


newark-airportShe smiles, answers questions and can guide you to the nearest rest room or to your connecting flight.

But don’t try and shake her hand.

That’s because “she” is an avatar, the latest high-tech venture at New York’s three major airports.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unveiled the device Monday at Newark Liberty and La Guardia airports.

Those two, along with JFK Airport, will be the first airports in North America to get an avatar this summer. The Port Authority is renting them for about $180,000 for six months.

They cost about $250,000 each.

More than 100 million travelers pass through the three airports annually, according to the Port Authority. About a third of those pass through during the summer months.

In addition to the electronic help, the flesh-and-blood customer service staff, currently at about 350 for the three airports, will increase by 20 percent, Port executive director Patrick Foye said. Newark will get about 25 to 30 more of the red-jacketed staff.

Port Authority officials reviewed about 10,000 comments from travelers before deciding on what changes to make.

“One of the things people said in the surveys was that they wanted more human interaction,” Foye said.

Port Authority officials also said Monday they will add 100 power poles at the airports for travelers to charge their hand-held devices. They’ll also add more tables and chairs in some food-court areas where seating has been lacking.

{The Associated Press/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. 180K for six months? How much do the human staff make? And then they will raise our tolls again to pay for this Shtus.

  2. This is stupid. For the price of one of these things they could hire 3 or 4 real humans. Now I know where all the toll hikes go.