The City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Aviation Board have delayed the opening of the city’s new airport – yet again. The entirely new Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is now set to open “sometime” in fall 2019. The city previously intended to begin operations at the new MSY on May 15, 2019.
“The fact is: it is not ready, and there is more work to be done to get us there… I look forward to opening our new, completely operational facility at its peak on Day One.” – Mayor LaToya Cantrell
A new airport for a new New Orleans
In the spring of 2013, the New Orleans Aviation Board announced an ambitious plan to build an entirely new airport for the city of New Orleans. The project is the first brand new airport to be built in the US since Denver International Airport (DEN) opened in 1995.
The city opted to build the new 972,000 square-foot terminal – with three concourses and 35 gates – on the north side of the existing airport property. Moving the terminal across the airfield will allow the new operation to use existing runways and taxiways, a key factor in managing project costs. The billion-dollar project began in January 2016, and according to airport officials, the terminal is “nearly nine-five percent complete.”
The new terminal boasts passenger-friendly amenities like over 40 food, beverage, and retail concessions post-security, as well as a new United Club and Delta SkyClub.
A security checkpoint to remember
New Orleans’ current airport has a decentralized terminal structure with multiple security checkpoints. The new main terminal will have one consolidated TSA checkpoint with 17 lanes – the length of a football field!
In theory, one consolidated checkpoint should allow TSA to expand (or contract) the facility as demand fluctuates. In addition to strong tourist demand, New Orleans hosts major events like the Super Bowl.
New Orleans continues international growth
New Orleans (MSY) was one of the first mid-size markets British Airways launched with its smallest Dreamliner variant, the Boeing 787-8. The carrier currently flies London Heathrow (LHR) – New Orleans (MSY) five times per week, year-round. British Airways has since launched Nashville (BNA), Pittsburgh (PIT), and Charleston (CHS) in its push to serve more US destinations.
Condor also flies longhaul to New Orleans (MSY) from Frankfurt (FRA), albeit only twice weekly during the busy summer season. Panamanian flag carrier Copa Airlines connects Panama City (PTY) with New Orleans (MSY) – the city’s only connection to Central America. United partner and Star Alliance member Air Canada flies twice daily to Toronto (YYZ).
New Orleans also sees up to three daily flights – during peak-season weekends – to Cancun (CUN) on United, Delta, and Southwest. Vacation Express also offers weekly charter service to Punta Cana (PUJ) and Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ).