Armstrong Airport sets record for passengers in 2015

Posted on: January 22 2016 | Posted in: Latest News

By: CityBusiness staff reports

More than 10.6 million passengers traveled through Louis Armstrong International Airport last year, an increase of 9.1 percent compared to 2014 and an all-time record high in total passenger numbers, according to airport official

Prior to last year, the airport’s record high was in 2000, when more than 9.8 million passengers passed through.

Aviation director Iftikhar Ahmad said a growing list of new airlines and nonstop destinations that include four international cities have contributed to the growth.

“I think we can expect to see further growth into 2016,” Ahmad said. “We now have 14 airlines flying out of Armstrong, which has increased competition and helped us to become one of the cheapest airports in the region to fly from.”

The airport obtained new airlines last year with the addition of Allegiant Air, Branson AirExpress, Copa Airlines and GLO. Southwest, United, Delta, Spirit Airlines and Vacation Express started new services to various cities as well.

Frontier Airlines is beginning new service in April to Philadelphia and Orlando, Florida. Allegiant is adding new flights to Jacksonville and St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida as well.

“Many of the flights announced last year will start to roll out this year, which will further increase our numbers,” Ahmad said.

Armstrong’s recent growth is also outpacing national numbers. Ahmad said over the past five years, passenger numbers have grown more than 37 percent, more than double the average rate of growth nationwide. Out of the top 503 airports in the country, Armstrong has jumped from 53rd in 2007 to 37th in total passengers.

Ahmad said one of the biggest wins in 2015 was being able to add service between New Orleans and Panama’s Tocumen International Airport with flights through Copa Airlines. He said the airport’s next target is nonstop European service through British Airways and other carriers.

“A European flight is an $80 to $90 million investment for an airline, which is a high number to ask of them,” Ahamd said. “Our ability to cut costs to airlines, through the construction of our new north terminal, will help our efforts. It’s not a matter of if, but when.”

The record passenger high isn’t the only big number the airport is touting. A news release says that last year, passengers were able to enjoy:

  • 58,011 cups of gumbo
  • 228,253 beignets
  • 64,542 plates of jambalaya
  • 136,886 po-boys
  • 393,671 regular cups of coffee
  • 1,040 live music performances