New Armstrong terminal should mean new flights, say airport officials

Don Ames
April 16, 2018 - 8:48 am

New Orleans will put out a pretty fancy welcome mat next year for folks flying into the city.

Construction on New Orleans’ new airport terminal is proceeding as planned. The billion dollar project is about 60 percent complete, and on track to open in February of 2019. Airport officials recently shared an update on the progress of construction: 

Erin Burns, Director of Communications for the New Orleans Aviation Board, says it's a transformative project for our region. 

"This is a world-class airport facility, with 35 gates serving passengers coming in and out of the airport," said Burns. "Not a lot of cities see a new terminal being built in their area. It only happens about every ten years."

Burns says it's expected to bring new flights to the city, increase the airport's economic impact and improve visitors' first impression of the city. 

"It's going to be a much more convenient experience for travelers," she said. "And, for a lot of visitors to our state, the airport is really the front door to New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana."

Burns says more and more folks are passing through that front door.

"We've grown from 39 non-stop destinations in 2008 to 56 this year. Over the last three years, we’ve really seen some record-breaking numbers in total passengers passing through our airport. Last year, we got over 12 million passengers within one year, which is testament that New Orleans is now better connected than ever to the rest of the world," Burns said.

"In 2017, we welcomed two new flights to London and Frankfurt, Germany...which was the airport's first time bringing in new flights to Europe since the 1980s," Burns says. During British Airways’ first year at MSY, the airline made more than 450 trips between New Orleans and London.

"And, we've just announced three new Sacramento, San Jose, and Atlantic City."

Silver Airways, Florida’s first airline, is continuing its expansion by announcing it will start daily nonstop service to Missouri’s Branson Airport from New Orleans, Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport, and Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport this August.

Burns says the new terminal will give visitors from around the world more of a sense of where they are, with New Orleans’ décor, music and an exciting food service dishing out favorite New Orleans specialties.

Due to the terminals new location, Burns says even locals may initially be confused about where they are, as they head in and out of town. 

"Once the new terminal opens, people are going to have to take a new route to get to and from the airport," says Burns. "If you're on the I-10, you'll have to take the Loyola Drive exit. And, right now, the DOTD is already working on a construction project to add more lanes to Loyola Drive to ensure that we have a more efficient traffic flow through the area.

"DOTD has also committed to building a new interchange directly from I-10 that would even further improve the traffic flow around Kenner." 

As for the current terminal, Burns says its future is under review.

"This project also gives us the opportunity to redevelop the current facility which will be left vacant once we move over. So, right now, we're conducting a study to determine the best use of this developable land. The car rental facility, which is fairly new, is going to stay where it is and there'll be shuttle service to and from that facility."

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