Flyers frequenting Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport have suffered a long wait for the airport’s entry into the 21st Century.
For years, MSY (that’s the airport code) has been saddled with a nondescript set-up but now a dramatic terminal lies just over the horizon.
Scheduled to be up and running in a little over a year from now, the airport’s new 35-gate North Terminal is an architectural gem.
Centerpiece of a $US993.7-million capital improvement program, the project also funds a much-needed “flyover” access to Interstate Highway 10, a major ground artery in the Crescent City.
New Orleans airport has rebounded beautifully from the ravages of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, which submerged much of this low-lying city.
In the wake of the storm, MSY served as a medical facility, treating victims of Katrina. It also acted as the city’s lifeline to the rest of the world.
Those dark days are history now. In 2016, New Orleans, the 37th-busiest airport in North America according to Airport Council International-North America, handled a record 11.1-million passengers.
In 2017, MSY added a pair of groundbreaking international flights: British Airways nonstop to London Heathrow and Condor nonstop to Frankfurt.
The increased passenger count, and associated new international service, underscored just how sorely a new terminal was needed.
Among the features of North Terminal will be a consolidated security checkpoint, the better to ease connections and process passengers. A new parking garage is also in the works.
According to an MSY release, passengers “should feel the spirit of New Orleans in the North Terminal through the sights, smells and sounds that reverberate” in the city. This AirlineRatings reporter can attest to the sights and smells part, at least in the old terminal.
Electric golf carts rigged with bars in the back used to greet incoming flights, whetting the appetite for one of the world’s great culinary cities.
North Terminal is set to open in February 2019, perhaps just in time for Mardis Gras.