N.O. airport hosts post-Katrina record of 8.2M passengers in 2010

Posted on: March 3 2011 | Posted in: Latest News
..."increase exceeded the Federal Aviation Administration’s national growth projection"...

Thursday, March 3, 2011
NOLA.com

BY: Christian Moises, News Editor

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport saw a post-Hurricane Katrina record number of passengers pass through the airport in 2010 partly because of several airlines adding new destinations throughout the year, according to figures released today.

Passenger traffic was up 5.1 percent in 2010 from 7.8 million travelers in 2009 to 8.2 million last year. The increase exceeded the Federal Aviation Administration’s national growth projection of 2.8 percent.

The number of enplaned passengers on domestic, international and charter flights — those leaving the airport — was up 4.6 percent to 4.1 million from 3.9 million in 2009, while the number of deplaned passengers — those arriving at the airport — also was up 5.3 percent from 3.9 million in 2009 to 4.1 million last year.

Cargo activity, meanwhile, was flat with nearly 52,600 metric tonnes of freight and mail being handled in 2010.

Several new nonstop air service destinations and air carriers helped boost passenger traffic last year. Air Canada and WestJet both began service to Toronto, while Frontier Airlines returned with service to Denver and Kansas City, AirTran started service to Milwaukee and Southwest started service to Los Angeles and St. Louis.

But the airport lost one carrier in 2010 after AeroMexico ended its Mexico City to New Orleans service in July, barely one year after it began as the airport’s first international service after Katrina.

“Armstrong International Airport continues to show growth above the national average,” Director of Aviation Iftikhar Ahmad said in a press release. “We are pleased with 2010 and looking forward to a strong 2011 as convention and tourism travel continues to rebound with the economy.”

Among domestic carriers, Southwest led all airlines for the year with 2.5 million passengers in 2010, a 7 percent increase over the 2.36 million passengers a year earlier.

AirTran Airways saw the largest year-over-year increase at 19.7 percent with 347,390 passengers in 2010, up from 290,275 in 2009. The United System system, which includes United Airlines and its express carriers, saw the largest year-over-year drop at 6.8 percent to 627,682 passengers in 2010 compared with 673,465 in 2009.

Preliminary figures show the airport had gross operating revenues of more than $70 million, up 8.9 percent over 2009. The airport receives no general tax dollars for its operation, as all revenue is self-generated through parking, concessions and air carrier operations.

Passenger traffic for December also was up 4.7 percent from 637,583 passengers in December 2009 to 667,513 last year. Southwest led all carriers with 217,690 passenger in 2010, a 10.3 percent over the 197,220 travelers in December 2009.