New Orleans Airport Pushes Opening Date for New Terminal Yet Again

Apr 11, 2019

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The City of New Orleans and its aviation board announced Thursday that the opening of a new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) would be delayed until at least fall 2019.

In a news release Thursday, officials blamed the delay on the “complex coordination of construction activities during the final phase of this major project,” but did not go into specific detail. The new terminal was previously slated to open to the public on May 15.

“The fact is: it is not ready, and there is more work to be done to get us there,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in the statement. “I fully support the additional time needed and look forward to opening our new, completely operational facility at its peak on Day One.”

The new terminal has been under construction for more than three years: Builders first broke ground in January of 2016. At this point, the project is about 95% complete, and construction costs have swelled to at least $1.029 billion.

“This is now an 18 month delay,” Chris Sloan, managing editor at Airways Magazine, told TPG in an email. “The last delay from February was because of sewage issues but there’s more to it than that now.”

TPG reached out to New Orleans airport for more information but did not receive a response.

Fortunately for flyers, there should be little impact to operations as flight schedules will continue as normal. But passengers will likely be disappointed as the old terminal and its four concourses certainly feel dated (the facility was originally built in 1959), and the new building will be state-of-the-art, with a modern design from architect Cesar Pelli that allows for more natural light and much larger security checkpoint area — a must for an airport with growing passenger numbers like MSY. In 2018, the airport’s total passengers was up 14% to 13,122,7621 flyers.

Rendering of New Orleans Airport new terminal. Image courtesy of New Orleans Aviation Board.

The new terminal will be about 972,000 square feet in size with 35 gates in three concourses that include more than 40 restaurants and stores. When it finally opens, all airport operations will switch from the old to the new terminal, which sits north of the current facility.

Featured image of a computer rendering of MSY’s new terminal courtesy of New Orleans Department of Aviation.

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