New Orleans Mayor Announces Conceptual Design For New International Airport

$826 Million Project Will Create Over 13,000 Jobs

Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined the New Orleans Aviation Board (NOAB), regional elected officials, business and tourism leaders to announce a major milestone in the plans to build a brand new, world-class airport terminal that will serve as a crucial economic driver for the New Orleans metropolitan region and provide a lasting impression to visitors due to its modern design and open architectural concept.

Announced in April 2013, the new North Terminal will be constructed on the north side of the existing Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) property, creating over 13,000 new construction jobs and significant opportunities for local businesses and disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) in the region.

“As the most transformative project for New Orleans since the Superdome, this development will create new jobs and unmatched business opportunities for the people of New Orleans. For over 40 years, people talked about developing an airport that was reflective of our city, yet for decades there was little action and minimal collaboration. We did the hard work, leveraged our relationships with federal, state and local partners, and today a financially feasible, world-class airport is on the way,” said Mayor Landrieu, noting the projected $1.7 billion in economic impact from construction and $3.2 billion in expected annual economic impact on tourism.

Today, Mayor Landrieu and NOAB unveiled conceptual renderings of the 650,000-square-foot terminal complex that features two concourses with 30 gates, a consolidated checkpoint, seamless connections between concourses and 2000 parking garage spaces. The North Terminal design team consists of acclaimed architect Cesar Pelli of Pelli Clarke Pelli, Manning Architects, Crescent City Aviation Team and Leo A. Daly/ Atkins. The $826 Million development includes plans for a $72 million power plant project, $87 million for a flyover addition from I-10 to improve access to the airport, and $17 million for an on-site hotel.

Officials also noted the first major milestone to reach the 2018 target completion date. On December 30, 2013 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a Finding of No Significant Impact/Record of Decision (FONSI/ROD) for the Environmental Assessment completed in connection with the proposed north relocation of the terminal complex. Issuance by the FAA of a FONSI/ROD for the Final EA represents the FAA’s determination that the proposed action would not significantly affect environmental resources and approval of the proposed airport action.

“The decision to build a new terminal was a strategic business move to improve the economic value to the community. We have full support of our stakeholders, including air carriers, to develop the new North Terminal,” said Aviation Board Chair Cheryl Teamer.

“The Airport is a major economic asset for the region, even with its aging facility with many deficiencies. With decreased costs, airlines will be incentivized to increase business in this region. This new terminal will provide a financially sustainable airport, improved air service and thousands of jobs and business opportunities, most of all; the community will get a world class airport,” said Iftikhar Ahmad, Airport Director of Aviation.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is a critical asset for the city, the region and state. It currently serves 80% of the Louisiana’s commercial air traffic, provides over 12,450 direct and indirect jobs for the community, and facilitates over $2.6 billion in tourism spending. In 2013, MSY saw over 9 million passengers.

The new North Terminal facility will provide the following strategic advantages. Funding sources for the program include FAA AIP grants, TSA grants, Louisiana State Aviation Trust Fund grants, PFC collections, General Airport Revenue Bonds and Aviation Board Capital Funds. There is no investment by the City of New Orleans.


  • The new terminal will provide convenient access and reduced drive time to the facility for both east and westbound I-10 travelers
  • Separate arrivals and departure road systems on east and west side of the North Terminal will reduce
    curbside congestion and enhance passenger convenience


  • Efficient design will reduce walking distances and improve the passenger experience
  • Consolidated security check point will decrease passenger wait times and provide improved screening capabilities for processing large groups of conventioneers and cruise ship passengers during peak periods
  • Post-security connected concourses will improve passenger transfers
  • The number of restroom facilities will triple, which will improve customer convenience
  • Concourse concessions will have improved access with an open and spacious feeling for passengers and unobstructed exterior views by being placed in the center of the concourse
  • Dual aircraft taxi lanes will improve airline efficiency by reducing aircraft wait times so that the passengers do not wait onboard the aircraft for access to a gate
  • An onsite state-of-the-art hotel


  • Proper pre- and post-security allocations of concessions will increase concessions revenues there by decreasing airline cost which will pave the way for more service to New Orleans
  • The North Terminal will reduce maintenance and utility costs as compared to the existing inefficient and outdated terminal facility
  • The North Terminal gates will be sufficiently spaced to accommodate today’s larger aircraft with increased wingspans
  • A consolidated loading dock is included in the Terminal design to improve security and reduce costs by improving operational efficiency


  • The new terminal will allow for general aviation and corporate aviation growth on the south side of the airport which will increase business in the region and will provide non-airline revenue
  • The new terminal will pave the way for the future planned intermodal facility
“This is just another great example of the strength and resilience of the people of this area,” said Kristy Nichols, Louisiana Commissioner of Administration. “This airport is so important, not just to New Orleans, but to the whole state, and this terminal will represent another great step for Louisiana.”

History of the Project

In August 2011, Mayor Landrieu requested that the Aviation Board undertake an in-depth and robust analysis of the proposed north side plans looking at financial feasibility, environmental impact, design, and operational impacts, including potential uses for the existing terminal and surrounding infrastructure.

Shortly thereafter, the Aviation Board issued requests for proposals for design, program management, environmental, land use, and financial feasibility consultants. A team of airport consultants was selected using Mayor Landrieu’s reformed competitive selection procurement process. That team has evaluated four different alternatives- refurbishment of the existing terminal, expansion on the south side, a new terminal on the west side, and a new terminal on the north side. Each of these options would allow continued use of the current runways and would be located within the airport’s existing property footprint.

Funding for the new terminal project will come from various airport self-generated funds along with federal and state aviation grants. The City of New Orleans will not be funding any part of the new terminal project. Additionally, by law, airport funding cannot be used for non-airport improvements.

MSY got its start in 1959 as a new terminal and two new concourses were dedicated at Moisant Field, which was used as an air base during World War II. The official name of the airport was changed in 1960 from Moisant Field to New Orleans International Airport, but its three letter identifier remained MSY for Moisant Stock Yards. That original terminal is still in use today.

The first major expansion occurred in 1974 with the addition of two new concourses at the east end of the main terminal. This brought the total number of gates to 42. Several other expansions have occurred since that time. In early 2013, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Airport and regional officials unveiled more than $300 million in improvements at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, part of an Airport Modernization Program that includes a new and bright interior with a refurbished ticket lobby, expanded concourse, improved baggage claim, remodeled restrooms, updated exterior, a new car rental facility and new retail and restaurant offerings. Those improvements will be utilized over the next five years, and then will be used in the repurposing of the existing terminal.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is owned by the City of New Orleans and governed by the New Orleans Aviation Board.


U.S. Representative, Cedric L. Richmond said, “The $826 million this project will inject into New Orleans and the metro area will amount to an economic boom for the city. It will not only protect the 12,471 jobs the airport currently provides, but will create many more jobs for local residents. I look forward to the beginning of this project, and I am excited about the economic opportunities it can and should provide for all New Orleanians. We are at our best as a city when everyone has an opportunity to participate in the city’s progress.”


District D Council member Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, who serves as Chair of the New Orleans City Council's Airport Committee said, "We have embarked on an exciting project that will help us attract more flights and provide better service to our residents and visitors. It will also be a tremendous economic driver for the city and the region. I look forward to watching these designs become reality!”

City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, “This new terminal is such a remarkable accomplishment! It will serve as one of the greatest economic development tools not only in our City’s history, but also for our metropolitan and state.”

Council member-at-large Stacy Head said, “This new terminal will show the world that New Orleans is back. Visitors’ first impressions will be of a clean, modern and accommodating airport full of the fantastic food and retail offerings that our city is already famous for. I applaud and congratulate the Administration and the New Orleans Aviation Board for making this vision a reality.”

District A Council member Susan Guidry said, “I can’t think of a better way to greet the millions of visitors who come to our great city every year. With this first-class renovation we will properly welcome our guests – and welcome home our residents – with the very best that New Orleans has to offer.”

District C Council member Kristin Gisleson Palmer said, “I am excited about today’s announcement as this is an opportunity to improve a key part of our region’s transportation system. This new terminal will create job opportunities for our residents and will also increase our connectivity to the nation and the world.”

District E Council member James A. Gray II said, “A state-of-the-art terminal will increase the number of airplanes and passengers coming to New Orleans, and increased tourism benefits everyone, from hotelier to taxi driver,” said District E Councilman James A. Gray II. “Equally important, this move creates 13,000 new jobs. This is a win-win for everyone. We’re about to get the 21st century airport that this great city deserves.”


Jefferson Parish President John Young said, "The construction of the new terminal will be a catalyst for future economic growth and development. It will transform Louis Armstrong International Airport into a world class airport and will help create much needed additional economic opportunities and jobs. This will result in the airport reaching its full potential as an economic engine for our entire metropolitan region."

Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni said, “I am overwhelmed by Mayor Landrieu’s leadership and the City of New Orleans’s commitment to the Louis Armstrong International Airport. My administration and I are working diligently to change the face and identity of Kenner via the Kenner 2030 Plan. Mayor Landrieu and his team’s $826 million plan to enhance the airport will bring a northern corridor of Kenner to life. This will be a catalyst for further economic and growth in Kenner.”


State Senator Edwin Murray, said “New Orleans is a world-class city that deserves a world class airport. The project will provide a strong opportunity for economic growth that will benefit New Orleans and the entire region for years to come.”

State Senator J.P. Morrell said, "I'm extremely excited about the expansion announcement today. This is an international city that deserves a true international airport. This is a great day for the City of New Orleans, and the legislative delegation looks forward to supporting the Mayor and the City Council in this endeavor."

State Senator Gary Smith, Jr. said, “This much needed improvement will create jobs and revitalization while bringing the New Orleans airport back to the first class transportation center that it once was. This is a win for all of South Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.”

State Senator Danny Martiny said, “A world-class airport is essential to the economic vitality of our region. This project will make a significant impact in jobs and economic opportunities for our citizens and provide the amenities and increased efficiencies that will allow the airport to grow and thrive.”

State Representative Jared Brossett said, "Revitalizing economic engines like our airport will produce new opportunities for job growth and economic development for New Orleans. I'm proud to work collaboratively with my colleagues and leaders around the region to continue to earn these important wins for the people of New Orleans."

State Representative Chris Leopold said, “I applaud Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the Aviation Board, and the City Council for their persistence in ramping up Armstrong Airport. This international airport will best facilitate not only the uptick in tourism, but global demand for our region's greatest asset, the Mississippi River, and the anticipated increase in surrounding port trade."


“The new Louis Armstrong International Airport will provide a pathway to continued prosperity and sustainable economic growth for the new New Orleans," Henry Coaxum, Chairman of the Board of Directors, New Orleans Business Alliance. "By providing temporary construction jobs, long-term quality employment, and contract opportunities for local minority and women owned businesses, the new world- class airport will multiply its impact on this community in the short and long term.”

Rodrick T. Miller, President and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance, said, “The Louis Armstrong International Airport is a key economic anchor in New Orleans, and its transformation into a world class facility will unlock its full potential to support our continued growth and progress. By increasing national and international flights and improving cargo carrying capacity, the new airport will drive economic growth in our community, grow jobs, increase international investment opportunities, and improve our transportation and logistics infrastructure.“

Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. , said, “Today’s announcement represents a major step forward towards transforming Louis Armstrong into a world class airport.Under Mayor Landrieu’s leadership, the airport will become more attractive, more efficient and better able to attract the domestic and international flights demanded by the business community."

Mark Romig, President and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, said, “With the construction of our new airport, New Orleans will continue to serve our global visitors and citizens of the region in an exciting and memorable way. We are fortunate in New Orleans to have leadership that understands the importance of growing our transportation assets at the same rate our city is advancing."

Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, "The Louis Armstrong International Airport provides a first and last impression of the city for millions of visitors to New Orleans each year, and those impressions really matter in a $6 billion dollar tourism industry that is driven by image and perception.”

Perry continued, “All of the improvements and expansions underway at the airport will be a game- changer for New Orleans' status as a convention, business travel, sports, and culture and leisure destination. In addition to a better experience for visitors, the North Terminal will allow the airlines to bring in more daily flights and more seats, so that we can better compete with convention destinations with more 'airlift' such as Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas. We commend Mayor Landrieu and Aviation Board on this exciting endeavor."

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