As we approach the 10 year anniversary
of Hurricane Katrina, we reflect upon emergency preparedness at Louis Armstrong
New Orleans International Airport. Our
region will never forget August 29, 2005 and the catastrophic blow of Hurricane
Katrina. The Airport was closed to commercial air traffic on August 28, 2005,
shortly before the hurricane made landfall.
Fortunately, the Airport suffered no significant airfield damage and was
able to support the recovery efforts for the community. The Airport reopened to commercial flight
operations on September 13, 2005.
Since that time, we have invested in a
new state-of-the-art emergency operations center (EOC). The EOC serves as the command and operations
center for Airport staff during a storm or other emergency event affecting the
Airport. We also have a comprehensive Hurricane
Preparedness Plan that is annually reviewed to identify any changes needed
since the last storm season. The Plan
includes close coordination with local, state and federal government officials,
as well as airlines, tenants and vendors who operate at the Airport. The
Airport staff tests our emergency plans by conducting annual emergency
exercises and participating in regional preparedness exercises, because our
number one concern in an emergency is the safety of our passengers, our
neighbors and staff.
If a tropical storm or hurricane is
approaching the New Orleans region, the Airport will remain open for as long as
the airlines continue to operate flights. The decision to cease flight
operations will vary from airline to airline, and each airline determines when
to terminate their flight operations based upon the evolving weather conditions.
If you plan on traveling by air out of the region due to an impending storm,
plan early and keep in contact with your particular airline for flight status.
If you are traveling with pets, check with your airline prior to coming to the
Airport to verify that they allow pets to travel on their aircraft. Please be
aware that not all of the airlines allow pets and there are federal limits as
to the number of pets allowed on each flight.
In the event of an approaching
landfall of a tropical storm or hurricane to our area, law enforcement presence
will be enhanced to ensure a secure environment and controlled access to the
Airport facilities. When a storm is approaching and you have confirmed flight
plans, please make sure you carry some form of flight confirmation and personal
identification because it may be required for entrance to the Airport terminal.
The flight confirmation may be an email detailing your flight information, a
boarding pass or ticket receipt. If you do not have the necessary
documentation, it may delay your entrance to the Airport. At the peak of the
storm and continuing until Airport recovery efforts are completed, access to
the Airport will be restricted. Once flights cease, the general public and
non-essential personnel will be asked to evacuate from the Airport. For safety
reasons, the Airport is not a public shelter and the general public will not be
allowed to ride out a storm at the Airport.
As a storm approaches, please remember to check with your particular
airline on the status of your flight on your airline’s website or contacting their
customer service telephone number. Airport staff will continue to work closely
with local, state and federal government officials, as well as each of our airlines,
tenants and vendors to ensure the safety of all passengers before, during and
after any emergency.