Updated 11:34 AM; Posted 11:33 AM
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
More than 12 million people traveled through the New Orleans airport in 2017, marking another record year for air travel in the city.
Airlines added more than 20 new flights at Louis Armstrong International Airport last year, helping boost daily traffic to an average of 150 departing flights and more than 21,000 available seats on incoming and outgoing planes, according to a news release from the airport. Several airlines, including Southwest and Delta, have announced they will add more routes in 2018.
In the release, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the record traffic is proof New Orleans is "vibrant as ever" and validation for the new North Terminal. The nearly $1 billion project is under construction now and slated to open in February 2019.
"Travelers from all over the world are flocking to New Orleans for the unique culture, experience and people here," Landrieu said. "I'm so proud to see yet another record-breaking year for the airport."
Last year was the seventh year of increased air traffic for Armstrong Airport, following strong growth in 2015 and 2016, when annual travelers totaled 10.6 million and 11.1 million, respectively. Overall traffic has grown 35 percent since 2010.
May remained New Orleans' busiest month for air travel, followed closely by October and November travel. More than 1.1 million people traveled through the airport in May 2017.
Southwest Airlines also remained the largest carrier in New Orleans, serving more than 4.4 million travelers - more than a third of the market - in 2017. Delta Air Lines came in second, followed by American Airlines in third.
The 2017 growth was aided in large part by a slew of new routes added to Armstrong's offerings, including new nonstop international flights to London and Frankfurt, Germany. The new routes included:
· British Airway's new nonstop flight to London's Heathrow Airport. The route launched in March. It now flies five times a week after the airline added a day to the route in October. See inside the British Airways jet that makes the roughly 10-hour flight.
· Southwest Airlines' seasonal service to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina and Columbus, Ohio, which launched in April.
· Condor Airlines' seasonal nonstop service to Frankfurt, Germany, which launched in May.
· Alaska Airlines launched a new nonstop service to San Francisco through its daughter airline, Virgin America. The flight launched in September.
· Frontier Airlines' four new nonstop flights to Islip, New York; Providence, Rhode Island; San Antonio, Texas; and Austin, Texas. Those flights launched in October.
· Spirit Airlines' four new nonstop routes, including flights to Boston; Newark, New Jersey; Tampa, Florida; and a four times weekly flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Those flights launched in November.
The New Orleans airport currently supports nonstop flights from 14 airlines to 57 destinations, including six international destinations. Several airlines have announced to add more flights in New Orleans in 2018, including Southwest, Delta and Spirit. New routes coming this year include:
· Delta's new twice-weekly routes to Seattle and Boston, which launch in February.
· Spirit's seasonal nonstop service to Columbus, Ohio, which launches in March. Spirit will also add a four-times-weekly flight to Atlantic City, New Jersey in April.
· Southwest will launch nonstop to Sacramento and San Jose, California in April as well as a new international flight to Cancun. Each of the new routes will fly once a week to start.
· Vacation Express' expanded service to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, which will start in May.
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Jennifer Larino covers consumer news, residential real estate, weather, parenting and family, and other aspects of life in New Orleans for NOLA.com | The Times Picayune. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504-239-1424. Follow her on Twitter @jenlarino