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2013 - A Very Good Year at MSY - 12/1/2013 -

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As we look back on 2013, it has been a year of exciting accomplishments at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. I would like to recap just a few.

In January, the New Orleans Aviation Board (NOAB) completed the $300 million modernization of the Airport that included the following new construction projects: Consolidated Rental Car Facility and service centers, Security and Emergency Operations Center, Airport Fire Fighting and Rescue Facility, and the six (6) gate expansion of Concourse D. In addition, the decades old terminal was refurbished from top to bottom. The new look showcases revamped ticket lobbies, baggage claim, and Concourse B. Features include a new paint scheme and finishes, contemporary furniture, efficient way finding signage, flat screen flight information display system (FIDS) monitors, remodeled restrooms, free charging stations for electronics, better lighting, and unique design aesthetics. In addition, our Master Concessionaires for Retail and Food & Beverage revealed this year their $10 million investment of new restaurants and stores featuring the New Orleans theme. These restaurants, located in the terminal and on the concourses, include Dooky Chase, Le Petit Bistro, Zatarainís Kitchen, Copelandís Gourmet Kitchen, Wow Wingery Cafe, Ye Olde College Inn, and Copelandís Bistro Cheesecake Scoop Café as well as a Dunkiní Donuts. New stores include Perlis Cajun Clothing, the Saints Store and Essence News. The completion of the modernization of the terminal and these new amenities coincided by schedule with New Orleans Super Bowl XLVII in February 2013. Many of the team families and fans attending the event were part of our all-time daily record of 40,561 passengers that departed after the big game. These passengers were given a special New Orleans greeting and send-off from our airport staff and volunteer organizations that they will remember for a lifetime.

In January, Spirit Airlines began their inaugural non-stop service to Dallas-Ft. Worth with an Airbus A319. Spirit is an ultra-low cost carrier with service to over 50 destinations in the U.S. and this was their first entry into the New Orleans market. Likewise,, a travel booking service, operated a direct flight for the first time from New Orleans to Cancun on an Aero Mexico airliner during the summer season that began in May. Their arrival increased the number of airlines serving the New Orleans Market to eleven (11). They have indicated they were very pleased with the passenger response and are looking forward to returning. Southwest Airlines who operates over 30% of our enplanements, added Key West in the spring and Austin in the fall to their lineup of direct travel destinations from New Orleans.

In April, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the Aviation Board and business and tourism leaders announced plans to build a new terminal on the north side of our airport campus at an estimated cost of $650 million. The decision to build a new terminal was entirely a strategic business move. It is not a project in response to outgrowing the existing terminal and needing more space, it is a strategy to increase non-airline revenue, decrease airline cost and gain more air service as a result. The scope of the new terminal will include a terminal/concourse structure of 645,440 sq. ft. with 30 gates and a capacity to add 12 more, a balanced pre- and post-security concession program (5,000 Sq. ft. Concessions - Pre-Security and 74,148 sq. ft. Concessions - Post-Security), a consolidated security screening checkpoint, secure-side connector to link concourses, a 3,000 space parking garage, circulation roads and 42 acres of airfield terminal apron area. Possible additions include a $72 million solar power plant, an $87 million fly-over interstate project to improve airport access to the interstate and a $17 million hotel. The budget is for a total capital program of $826 million. Funding sources include FAA AIP grants, TSA grants, Louisiana State Aviation Fund grants, PFC collections, General Airport Revenue Bonds, Aviation Board Capital Funds with no investment by the City of New Orleans.

The consultant team working on the project is composed of Parsons Brinkerhoff (Project Management), Leo A. Daly/Atkins - Architects: with renowned Cesar Pelli and New Orleansí William Raymond Manning of Manning Architects (Design), RS&H (Environmental Impact Studies), Unison Maximus Consulting Solutions (Financial Analysis) and Jones Lang LaSalle and Leigh Fisher (Land-Use Options).

We eagerly await an exciting terminal design from Cesar Pelli, Manning Architects, Atkins Global, and Leo A. Daly sometime next year. We hope that the new design that they will propose will meet our expectation of a World Class Airport for our World Class community.


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