Just in time for the Holiday travel rush, the long-awaited new terminal at New Orleans International Airport opened its gate on Wednesday, November 6. The project was originally scheduled to be completed in May 2018, but the opening date had to be postponed four times.
All flights, except for three Southwest Airlines flights from Tampa, Atlanta and Dallas, landed at the new facility on the evening of Tuesday, November 5, so that all operations could be moved to the new terminal on Wednesday morning.
The original building hosting the airport was built in 1959 and, in addition to being almost 60 years old, was not designed for the challenges for nowadays security requirements and airport operations. Therefore, after an in-depth analysis launched by the New Orleans Aviation Board in August 2011, on April 17, 2013, it was decided to proceed with the construction of a new terminal facility to the North of the airport area, and the ground was broken in January 2016 to begin works on the new building.
Built for the post 9/11 airport reality, the new 972,000-square-foot passenger terminal is built with a centralized security screening area to process all passengers heading for 35 gates divided into three concourses. After security there will be over 40 food, beverage, news, gift and specialty retail options, music venues, three changing facilities for passengers traveling with young children and 50 percent of all seats will be equipped with charging points. There will be free Wi-Fi across the airport, water bottle refilling stations and also a pet relief area.
Landside services will include three curbside check-in locations with easy access to the short-term garage offering 2,190 spaces and a walkway directly to the ticketing and check-in area on the third level of the terminal. A new 2,750-space long-term garage will be located across the arrivals area across the arrival area and it will be complemented by a 2,438-space economy garage connected to the airport by a frequent shuttle service. Overall, there will be over 8,000 parking spaces in four different locations suitable for every need.
“The opening of the new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is a major milestone for the City of New Orleans and for our region,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell in a statement. “The economy of the City is diversifying and thriving, and this new facility will accommodate the increased traffic being attracted to the area. The new airport terminal is the largest infrastructure project for New Orleans since the Superdome, and we look forward to providing our residents and visitors with a new and improved airport experience.”
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