By: Patricia Malone, Interim Director of Aviation
With the current unemployment rate in the nation at an all time high, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is pleased to be able to provide jobs for residents in a number of parishes and counties in the Gulf South. Employment in an airport environment is a mix of occupations. Whether it’s working as a pilot, cargo handler, ticket or customer service rep, flight attendant, sales clerk, wait staff, teller, air traffic controller, security screener, or any number of administrative and management positions, there’s a myriad of opportunities in the world of aviation. At the present, over 4,000 area residents are employed on the Airport’s campus. Many more are employed by the businesses that provide supplies and services for the numerous employers at the Airport. Positions are often available in both full-time and part-time capacities for the various employers at the airport. The New Orleans Aviation Board employees are the managing staff of the facility and are Civil Service employees with the City of New Orleans. Other employers include the airlines, the Transportation Security Administration, Rental Car Companies, concessions and contractors who hire and manage their own staffs. To explore employment opportunities with the various employers who operate at the airport, visit the airport website at www.flymsy.com
Over the next few years, we will be continuing our massive multi-million dollar Capital Improvement Program. With this will come some degree of inconvenience in the short term. As we engage in various states of construction, parts of the airport may be inaccessible or in a different location. We ask for the patience of our traveling public as we modernize the airport. The final product will be well worth the inconvenience. In addition to having an improved facility, the Airport Capital Improvement Program will provide more of what I mentioned at the beginning of this article – jobs. We are projecting that the $417+ million expenditure, for a host of projects, will provide between 6,000 to 9,000 jobs over a 3 to 5 year time span not to mention an influx of capital into our communities.
The airport environment is unique and it operates in a facility that never closes. The airport terminal is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year which presents an array of challenges. In 2009, Armstrong International Airport served nearly 8 million passengers. With these hours of operation and this volume of traffic, restrooms must be constantly attended to, escalators and elevators are in continual use and businesses in the airport must provide the degree of services the traveling public expects. Deep cleaning functions and renovations are also jobs that must be accomplished without major disruptions for passengers. To the extent possible, the most disruptive duties are performed in the hours between the last flight of the day and the earliest flight the next morning. The New Orleans Aviation Board and staff are constantly monitoring the airport environment to spot any problems before they worsen or pose a safety hazard. We encourage the public to share with us any concerns they may have regarding our airport services or facilities.
On the air service front, I am pleased to announce that two airlines that previously served our market before Hurricane Katrina are scheduled to return. These are Midwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines. Midwest will begin non-stop service to Kansas City in May and Frontier will begin non-stop service to Denver in June. This will bring the total number of airlines serving Armstrong International Airport to 11. In addition to more air service, this too will provide new jobs locally.
An airport plays a number of roles in a community. In addition to the obvious - air service, Armstrong International Airport is an employer, an economic engine for the community and the State, and a partner with local businesses. For the latest on what is happening at the airport, visit our website or watch our 30 minute television show, "Airport Alive”.