The long-anticipated new terminal at Louis Armstrong International Airport will open Nov. 6, officials said in a news release issued late Friday.
Photo courtesy Louis Armstrong International Airport
The $1.3 billion North Terminal was originally slated to open May 2018, replacing the existing airport facility. It has since missed four opening dates, with the latest Spring delay stemming from fractured drainage pipes in the swampy soil. Friday’s announcement was the first specific date given for an opening since then.
Beginning Nov. 6, all 16 commercial airlines at the airport will operate from the new terminal, officially located at 1 Terminal Dr. in Kenner. The existing facility at 900 Airline Dr. will shutter to the public.
Airport officials are advising passengers to arrive to the new airport at least two hours ahead of their scheduled departure to allow ample time for check-in and security.
The 972,000-square-foot terminal features three concourses, 35 gates and two new parking garages. Other parking includes a surface parking lot and an economy garage with shuttle service. Parking will increase from 5,673 total parking spaces to 8,063 spaces. Airport officials have touted the terminal’s modern style that features sleek glassy walls and an open layout. Passengers will have access to all concourses and concessions, which is limited in the current airport.
Concessions comprise 40 food, beverage, news, gift and specialty retail options. They are mostly placed past security, which will accommodate the majority of passengers who want to get through security first before perusing concession options, said Kevin Dolliole, aviation director at the airport. He said in a speech last week that this has been the trend among newly constructed airports nationwide.
Motorists will take a different route to access the airport. Vehicles will exit Loyola Drive from Interstate 10, cross over Veterans Boulevard and continue on the new dedicated airport roadway. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and the City of Kenner recently completed improvements to the roadways to better handle traffic flow through the Veterans/Loyola corridor.
A long-term traffic solution – a flyover ramp connecting I-10 – is still years down the road. A groundbreaking ceremony for the $125.6 million Loyola roadway project that will funnel motorists to the new airport occurred last week. DOTD on Aug. 30 signed a notice to proceed with Gilchrist Construction Co. on the project.
According to airport officials, the ramp will let traffic flow from the interstate directly to the airport roadway. DOTD expects that the flyover will be finished up to four years after the new terminal opens.
The new airport comes at a time of high demand for tourism travel to New Orleans. Dolliole said that from 2008-2018, New Orleans was the fifth fastest growing airport in U.S., with a 65 percent passenger growth, 35 percent growth in nonstop destinations and 20 percent growth in daily flights.
In 2018, the airport set an all-time record of 13.1 million passengers. The airport has grown from 39 nonstop destinations in 2008 to 55 in 2019.