Armstrong Airport hit post-Katrina passenger high in 2011

Posted on: March 5 2012
"...a clear sign of the strength of the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan area to draw visitors for business and pleasure..."

March 2, 2012

By Christian Moises, CityBusiness

Passenger traffic at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport ended 2011 on a high note, posting a 4.3 percent increase from roughly 8.2 million travelers in 2010 to 8.5 million last year. That was the highest figure since before Hurricane Katrina.

The number of enplaned passengers on domestic, international and charter flights — those leaving the airport — was up 4.3 percent to 4.3 million from 4.1 in 2010, while the number of deplaned passengers — those arriving at the airport — was up 4 percent to 4.3 million from 4.1 million.

“As Armstrong International continues to exceed the national average for growth projections, it is a clear sign of the strength of the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan area to draw visitors for business and pleasure and the confidence of the airlines in our market,” Armstrong Director of Aviation Iftikhar Ahmad said in a release.

Southwest was the airport’s busiest airline last year, carrying 32 percent of all passengers. The airline posted an 8.4 percent increase in passengers last year from 2.5 million in 2010 to 2.7 million.

Charter traffic, meanwhile, was down 24.2 percent from 19,947 passengers to 15,128. Freight and mail activity were also down 8.1 percent over the year from 116.3 million pounds of material to roughly 106.9 million in 2011. Combined, they accounted for less than 1 percent of all passengers.

Traffic hit its peak in 2000 with 9.9 million passengers and stayed above the 9 million mark until Katrina in 2005.

The Delta System, which includes Delta Airlines and its express carriers, posted the largest year-over-year increase, up 14.3 percent from 1.6 million passengers in 2010 to 1.85 last year. The United system saw the largest drop at 10 percent to 579,175 passengers from 643,541 a year earlier.

Passenger traffic for December also was up 3.4 percent from 667,730 passengers in 2010 to 690,317 last year. Southwest led all carriers with 234,329 passengers in 2011, a 7.6 percent over the 217,690 travelers a year earlier.