Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

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Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
Aéroport international Louis Armstrong de La Nouvelle-Orléans
Moisant Field
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport - Louisiana.jpg
WMO: 72231
Airport type Public
Owner City of New Orleans
Operator New Orleans Aviation Board
Serves New Orleans, Louisiana
Location Kenner, Louisiana
Elevation AMSL 4 ft / 1 m
Coordinates 29°59′36″N 090°15′29″W / 29.99333°N 90.25806°W / 29.99333; -90.25806Coordinates: 29°59′36″N 090°15′29″W / 29.99333°N 90.25806°W / 29.99333; -90.25806
Website www.FlyMSY.com
KMSY is located in Louisiana
Location of airport in Louisiana
Direction Length Surface
ft m
10/28 10,104 3,080 Asphalt/Concrete
1/19 7,001 2,134 Concrete
Statistics (2014)
Aircraft operations 131,446
Based aircraft 19
Passenger movement 9,785,394
Source: MSY[1]

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (IATA: MSYICAO: KMSYFAA LID: MSY) (French: Aéroport international Louis Armstrong de La Nouvelle-Orléans) is an international airport in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States. It is owned by the city of New Orleans and is 11 miles west of downtown New Orleans.[2] The airport's address is 900 Airline Drive in Kenner, Louisiana. A small portion of Runway 10/28 is in unincorporated St. Charles Parish. Armstrong International is the primary commercial airport for the New Orleans metropolitan area and southeast Louisiana. The airport was formerly known as Moisant Field, and it is also known as Louis Armstrong International Airport and New Orleans International Airport.

Despite its status as an international airport, the majority of commercial flights offered are to domestic destinations within the United States. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, numerous international flights were available. The few international commercial destinations are Toronto, Canada; Cancun, Mexico; and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (with the latter destination only being offered seasonally). The airport is aggressively working to restore more international destinations.

At an average of 4.5 feet (1.4 m) above sea level, MSY is the 2nd lowest-lying international airport in the world, behind only Amsterdam's Schiphol International Airport in the Netherlands, which is eleven feet below sea level. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, MSY served 9.7 million passengers per year, nearly all of them non-connecting. In 2014 it served 9,785,394 passengers, 6.3% more than 2013.[3]

In February 2008 U.S. News & World Report ranked the travel experience at MSY 4th of the 47 busiest United States airports based upon the relatively small number of flight delays and frequently lower onboard flight loads.[4]

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport was once a major gateway for Latin American travel from the United States. That travel now mostly goes through other hubs for legacy airlines such as the American Airlines hubs in Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) and Miami (MIA), the Delta Air Lines hub in Atlanta (ATL), and the United Airlines hub in Houston (IAH).

MSY opened after World War II, replacing the older New Orleans Lakefront Airport (which kept the NEW and KNEW airport codes and now serves general aviation) as the city's main airport. MSY was renamed in 2001 after Louis Armstrong, a famous jazz musician from New Orleans. The National Weather Service forecast office for the area was once located at MSY, but has moved to the suburb of Slidell, and now uses the non-airport codes LIX and KLIX.


The airport in the 1960s

The airport was originally named after daredevil aviator John Moisant, who died in 1910 in an airplane crash on agricultural land where the airport is now located. Its IATA code MSY was derived from Moisant Stock Yards, as Lakefront Airport retained the "NEW" code.[5]

Plans for Moisant Field began in 1940, as evidence mounted that New Orleans' older Shushan Airport (New Orleans Lakefront Airport) was too small. In World War II the land became a government air base. It returned to civil control after the war and commercial service began at Moisant Field in May 1946.

On September 19, 1947 the airport was shut down as it was submerged under two feet of water in the wake of the 1947 Hurricane's impact.

Starting in 1946 passengers used a large, hangar-like makeshift structure, until a new terminal complex, designed by Goldstein Parham & Labouisse and Herbert A. Benson, George J. Riehl and built by J. A. Jones Company, debuted in 1959 towards the end of Mayor DeLesseps "Chep" Morrison's administration. The core of this structure forms much of the present-day facility.[6]

The April 1957 Official Airline Guide (OAG) showed 74 weekday departures: Delta Air Lines 26, Eastern Air Lines 25, National Airlines 11, Capital Airlines 5, Southern Airways 4, and Braniff International Airways 3. Pan American World Airways had six departures each week while TACA, a Central American airline, had four.

On November 16, 1959 National Airlines Flight 967, a Douglas DC-7 flying from Tampa to New Orleans crashed into the Gulf of Mexico.[7]

By the time the 1959 airport terminal building opened, the name Moisant International Airport was being used for the New Orleans facility. At some point in the next few decades, the name was changed to New Orleans International Airport. In July 2001, to honor the 100th anniversary of Louis Armstrong's birth (August 4, 1901), the airport's name became Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.[8]

During the administration of Morrison's successor, Vic Schiro, the government sponsored studies of the feasibility of relocating New Orleans International Airport to a new site, contemporaneous with similar efforts that were ultimately successful in Houston (George Bush Intercontinental Airport) and Dallas (Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport). This attempt got as far as recommending a site in New Orleans East; a man-made island was to be created south of I-10 and north of U.S. Route 90 in a bay of Lake Pontchartrain. In the early 1970s it was decided that the current airport should be expanded instead, leading to the construction of a lengthened main terminal ticketing area, an airport access road linking the terminal to I-10, and the present-day Concourses A and B. New Orleans Mayor Sidney Barthelemy, in office from 1986 to 1994, later reintroduced the idea of building a new international airport for the city, with consideration given to other sites in New Orleans East, as well as on the Northshore in suburban St. Tammany Parish. Only a couple months before Hurricane Katrina's landfall, Mayor Ray Nagin again proposed a new airport for New Orleans, this time to the west in Montz, Louisiana. These initiatives met with the same fate as 1960s-era efforts concerning construction of a new airport for New Orleans.

Airline service[edit]

Eastern Air Lines began service into New Orleans as early as 1935 with Douglas DC-2s and DC-3s to Atlanta, Washington D.C. and New York via several stops.[9] By 1946 Eastern had extended its service west to Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Brownsville in Texas.[10] In the late 1950s Eastern served MSY with Lockheed L-1049 Constellations.[11] In 1960 Eastern Douglas DC-8 jets were flying from New Orleans nonstop to New York City while their Douglas DC-7s were flying nonstop from MSY to Mexico City.[12] Other Eastern flights were on Lockheed L-188 Electras.[12] Eastern Boeing 727 and Douglas DC-9 "Whisperjets" were introduced with flights to Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New York City, Tampa and other cities. In 1976 Eastern had nonstop jets to Atlanta, Boston, Corpus Christi, Houston, Mexico City, Miami, New York City (JFK Airport and LaGuardia Airport), Philadelphia, San Antonio and Washington, D.C. (Dulles Airport) mainly with Boeing 727s.[13] In 1983 Eastern also had nonstop Boeing 727-200s to Panama City, Panama.[14] In early 1991 Eastern ceased operations.

Capital Airlines was one of the first airlines to operate jets into New Orleans with the Boeing 720. The cover of the Capital Airlines June 1, 1961 system timetable proclaimed, "New Boeing 720 Jets New York – Atlanta – New Orleans: 2 Round Trips Daily ".[15] The airline began serving New Orleans in the late 1940s with Douglas DC-4s.[16] Capital was the first U.S. airline to operate the Vickers Viscount turboprop into MSY with flights to Atlanta, Birmingham, Raleigh/Durham, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York City[17] Capital merged into United Airlines in 1961. United continued to serve New Orleans and expanded its service when it merged with Continental Airlines in 2010. United was the only U.S. airline to operate the Sud Aviation Caravelle jetliner to New Orleans. In 1963 United had daily Caravelles from MSY nonstop to Atlanta and on to Washington Dulles Airport and Philadelphia.[18]

National Airlines was flying into New Orleans by 1938.[19] The airline operated Lockheed Model 10 Electra, Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar, Douglas DC-6 and Douglas DC-7 aircraft followed by Lockheed L-188 Electras, Boeing 727s and Douglas DC-8s (including the stretched DC-8-61) and widebody McDonnell Douglas DC-10s. National had nonstop or direct flights to Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Melbourne, Daytona Beach, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Jacksonville, Mobile, Pensacola and other cities. For a few months in 1978 National scheduled nonstop DC-10s between MSY and Amsterdam, Netherlands. In 1979 the airline operated direct flights three days a week from New Orleans to Frankfurt, Germany.[20] In 1976 the air carrier was operating a "milk run" multi-stop flight: National 493, a Boeing 727-200, flew a circuitous routing of New York City (JFK) – Washington D.C. (DCA) – Norfolk – Charleston – Jacksonville – Tallahassee – Panama City, FL – Pensacola – Mobile – New Orleans – Houston (IAH). The flight departed JFK at 9:10am and was scheduled to arrive MSY at 5:51pm.[21] In 1980 National merged into Pan Am which continued to fly many of National's routes from MSY. Pan Am ceased operations in 1991.

In 1969 Braniff International Airways started direct Boeing 707-320 jet service twice a week to Hawaii (Honolulu and Hilo).[22] Braniff was the first airline to fly British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven twin jets to New Orleans.[23] In 1968 Braniff BAC One-Elevens flew nonstop MSY to Kansas City and Shreveport and direct to Chicago, Des Moines, Fort Smith, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Omaha and Tulsa.[24] The airline would later operate Boeing 727-200s on these routes. By 1974 Braniff had daily nonstops to its hub at Dallas/Ft. Worth and also to Miami. Also in 1974, Braniff started weekly nonstop Boeing 727s from MSY to Panama City, Panama.[25] In April 1982 Braniff flew twice a week nonstop to Panama City and one-stop four times a week to Caracas, Venezuela and once a week to Bogota, Colombia.[26] In May 1982 the airline ceased operations. Braniff began serving New Orleans in 1953 with Douglas DC-3s and Convair 340s with two nonstop flights a day to Shreveport.[27]

Southern Airways began serving New Orleans with Douglas DC-3s in the early 1950s.[28] In July 1978 Southern was flying Douglas DC-9s nonstop to Baton Rouge, LA; Fort Walton Beach, FL (served via Eglin Air Force Base); Gulfport, MS; Huntsville, AL; Mobile, AL; Monroe, LA and Nashville, TN.[29] Southern DC-9s flew direct to Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; Chicago, IL (O'Hare Airport); Columbus, GA; Detroit, MI; Dothan, AL; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Greenville, MS; Greenville/Spartanburg, SC; Jackson, MS; Laurel/Hattiesburg, MS; Meridian, MS; Milwaukee, WI; New York City (LaGuardia Airport); Orlando, FL; and Washington D.C. (Dulles Airport).[30] Southern merged with North Central Airlines in 1979 to form Republic Airlines which continued to serve New Orlean before being merged into Northwest Airlines. Northwest continued to serve MSY before merging with Delta Air Lines in 2010.

Another local service airline at New Orleans was Texas International (formerly Trans-Texas Airways, TTa) with Douglas DC-9s and Convair 600s mainly to Louisiana and Texas.[13] Texas International merged into Continental Airlines in 1982. Continental jets flew nonstop from MSY to Chicago (Midway Airport), Cleveland, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Greensboro, Greenville/Spartanburg, Houston (Bush Intercontinental Airport and during the late 1990s Hobby Airport as well, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Miami, New York (Newark Airport), Orlando, Pensacola, San Antonio, Tampa and Washington D.C. (Reagan National Airport).[31] Continental also flew from New Orleans to Mexico and Venezuela during the 1980s. In October 1994, Continental had hourly nonstops to its Houston hub (IAH) with flights also departing every 30 minutes during peak periods for a total of 20 jet flights to IAH every weekday.[32] Jets flown by Continental from the airport included the Boeing 727-100, 727-200, 737-300, 737-500, 757-200 and 757-300, McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 and MD-80 as well as the wide body Airbus A300 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10. Continental merged with United Airlines in 2010.

For years Delta Air Lines carried more passengers into and out of New Orleans than any other airline. The airline began serving the airport in 1948 with Douglas DC-3s and DC-4s. One Delta route in 1948 was "The Meteor", flown with a Douglas DC-4 New Orleans-Birmingham-Atlanta-Knoxville-Cincinnati-Chicago.[33] DC-4s flew nonstop to Dallas and on to Ft. Worth.[33] Other flights to Atlanta and Dallas on DC-3s with a number of stops being made on each route. By October 1960 Delta Convair 880s were flying nonstop to Atlanta, New York City, Baltimore, Memphis and Houston and one-stop to Chicago and Philadelphia.[34] In later years, Delta's nonstops to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles were advertised for decades on a prominent billboard on Canal Street. In March 1973, Delta was operating direct, no change of plane Douglas DC-8 jet service from New Orleans to London, England with stops in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. via a through plane agreement with Pan Am. .[35] Also in the spring 1973 Delta jets flew nonstop from New Orleans to Atlanta, Baltimore (BWI), Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Chicago (ORD), Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston (IAH), Jackson, Los Angeles, Memphis, Montgomery, Nashville, Newark, New York City (LGA), Philadelphia, St. Louis and Shreveport.[36] Delta was also flying Douglas DC-8s nonstop to Maracaibo, Venezuela (MAR) and on to Caracas, nonstop to Montego Bay, Jamaica and nonstop to San Juan, Puerto Rico.[36] Jets operated by Delta into New Orleans over the years included the Convair 880, Douglas DC-8 (including the stretched Super DC-8-61), Boeing 727-200 and Douglas DC-9-30 as well as wide body Boeing 767-200 and 767-300, McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011 TriStars. New Orleans was a "focus city" for Delta for many years.

British Airways operated nonstop service to London and Mexico City in the early 1980s with the Lockheed L-1011-500 TriStar which was the long range version of the widebody trijet.

Japan Airlines (JAL) used New Orleans as a stop for "special schedule" Douglas DC-8 service between Tokyo, Japan and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the mid 1960s and early 1970s. The route also had stops in Honolulu, Los Angeles, Caracas and Belem.[37][38]

Southwest Airlines now carries the most passengers at New Orleans.

On July 11, 2001, the airport was renamed after jazz musician Louis Armstrong in honor of the centennial of his birth.

Hub operations at New Orleans[edit]

MSY was the hub for short-lived Pride Air, a start-up domestic airline which flew Boeing 727-100s and 727-200s for three months in 1985. Pride Air flew nonstop to Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco and Tampa, and one-stop to Jacksonville, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Jose, Sarasota and West Palm Beach.[39] Pride Air soon went out of business.

In 1984 the airport served as a small domestic hub for Northeastern International Airlines, which operated Boeing 727-100s, 727-200s, and Douglas DC-8s and wide body Airbus A300s. Northeastern International flew nonstop from New Orleans to Fort Lauderdale, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Miami, Oklahoma City, Orlando and St. Petersburg, and direct to Boston, Hartford/Springfield, New York City (JFK), San Diego, Tulsa and West Palm Beach.[40] This airline was liquidated in 1986.

Large and wide body jet service[edit]

A number of airlines scheduled large passenger jets into New Orleans in the past. The following has been compiled from the Official Airline Guide (OAG) from 1974 to 1999.[41]

Airport Directors[edit]

Retired United States Air Force Major-General Junius Wallace Jones served as airport director in the 1950s. During his term, the airport received many improvements.

The city chose Iftikhar Ahmad to be the director of aviation. Ahmad was approved for employment at MSY in April 2010. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a Masters of Science in Civil Engineering. Ahmad left his director of aviation post at Dayton International Airport where he had been since 2006 to work for MSY. Prior to Dayton, Ahmad had worked in airport management for the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority and the Houston Airport System, which oversees both Houston Bush Intercontinental and Houston Hobby airports.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • Eastern Air Lines Flight 304 operated with a Douglas DC-8 flying from New Orleans International Airport to Washington Dulles International Airport crashed on February 25, 1964 nine minutes after takeoff. All 51 passengers and 7 crew were killed.
  • On March 20, 1969, Douglas DC-3 N142D, leased from Avion Airways for a private charter, crashed on landing, killing 16 of the 27 passengers and crew on board. The aircraft was operating a domestic non-scheduled passenger flight from Memphis International Airport, Tennessee.[42]
  • On July 9, 1982, Pan Am Flight 759, en route from Miami to Las Vegas, departed New Orleans International. The Boeing 727-200 jetliner took off from the east-west runway (Runway 10/28) traveling east but never gained an altitude higher than 150 feet (46 m). The aircraft traveled 4,610 feet (1405 m) beyond the end of Runway 10, hitting trees along the way, until crashing into a residential neighborhood. A total of 153 people were killed (all 145 on board and 8 on the ground). The crash was, at the time, the second-deadliest civil aviation disaster in U.S. history. The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause was the aircraft's encounter with a microburst-induced wind shear during the liftoff. This atmospheric condition created a downdraft and decreasing headwind forcing the plane downward. Modern wind shear detection equipment protecting flights from such conditions is now in place both onboard planes and at most commercial airports, including Armstrong International.
  • On March 21, 2015, a man walked into the airport armed with a machete and Molotov cocktails and began attacking TSA agents. He was subsequently shot and killed.

Hurricane Katrina[edit]

The airport was closed to commercial air traffic on August 28, 2005, shortly before Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, and it remained closed as floods affected the city. The Associated Press reported on August 31 that MSY would receive humanitarian flights, and that the airport "has no significant airfield damage and had no standing water in aircraft movement areas", although the airport did, as the article put it, "[sustain] damage to its roofs, hangars and fencing."[43] In early September, the airport opened only to military aircraft and humanitarian flights, and served as a staging center for evacuees. The airport reopened to commercial flights on September 13, 2005.[44]

February 2006 tornado[edit]

At about 2:30 EST in the morning on February 2, 2006, a tornado touched down on the grounds of MSY. The damage from the tornado was significant but primarily confined to Concourse C, where American, United, AirTran Airways, and international arrivals were based. Many temporary repairs dating from Hurricane Katrina failed, including one roof patch, forcing airlines based in the concourse to relocate operations to vacant gates. Jetways and other ground equipment also sustained damage. The damage was rated by the National Weather Service and the tornado was rated F1. As of late 2006, all of this had been repaired.

Post-Katrina capacity restoration[edit]

MSY reopened to commercial flights on September 13, 2005, with four flights operated by Delta Air Lines to Atlanta and a Northwest Airlines flight to Memphis. Slowly, service from other carriers began to resume, with limited service offered by Southwest Airlines, Continental Airlines, and American Airlines.

Armstrong Airport, June 2007

Eventually, all carriers announced their return to MSY, with the exception of America West Airlines (which merged into US Airways two weeks later) and international carrier TACA. In early 2006, Continental Airlines became the first airline to return to pre-Katrina flight frequency levels, and in September 2006, to pre-Katrina seat capacity levels.

MSY served 8,153,511 passengers in 2010, or 83.8% of the pre-Katrina high of 9,733,179 passengers in 2004, as well as the all-time high of 9.9 million passengers who used the airfield in 2000.

In May 2010, AirTran announced new daily nonstop service to its hub in Milwaukee utilizing Boeing 717 twin jet aircraft which then commenced on October 7, 2010.[45] This route marked MSY's first all-new city addition since 1998. AirTran is now in the process of being acquired by Southwest Airlines which in turn began operating a new nonstop route between MSY and Key West, Florida with Boeing 737-700 jetliners. However, Southwest subsequently ended all flights to Key West including the service from New Orleans.

In November 2010, United Airlines announced resumption of daily nonstop service to San Francisco, the largest pre-Katrina domestic market that had yet to resume service to New Orleans.

On July 16, 2012, Spirit Airlines announced nonstop service from Dallas-Fort Worth to New Orleans, commencing in January 2013. Spirit became the first all-new domestic carrier, and second all-new carrier overall (after WestJet) to announce service to MSY, since 1998.

Incentives to airlines[edit]

On November 21, 2006, the New Orleans Aviation Board approved an air service initiative to promote increased service to Armstrong International:

  • Airlines qualify for a $0.75 credit per seat toward terminal use charges for scheduled departing seats exceeding 85% of pre-Katrina capacity levels for a twelve-month period.
  • Airlines qualify for a waiver of landing fees for twelve months following the initiation of service to an airport not presently served from New Orleans.

On January 17, 2008, the city's aviation board voted on an amended incentive program which waives landing fees for the first two airlines to fly nonstop into a city not presently served from the airport. Under the new ruling, landing fees will be waived for up to two airlines flying into an "underserved destination airport." The incentive previously referred to service to a "new destination airport."

The airport is also continuing its incentive to airlines that reach 85% of their pre-Katrina flight frequencies.

Concourse D/C Terminal

Incentives to passengers[edit]

In November 2006, the airport opened a "cell phone lot" at the corner of Airline Drive and Hollandey Street across from the Airport Access Road to allow people picking up arriving passengers to wait until an arriving passenger calls to say they are ready for pickup.

Also, on December 6, 2006, Armstrong International launched an $8 million maintenance campaign to clean and improve the terminal environment. Dubbed Music To Your Eyes, the campaign is designed to transform the airport into a more visitor-friendly facility, with improvements to lighting, cleanliness, seating, baggage claim maintenance, curbside congestion, and designated smoking areas.[46]

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport covers an area of 1,500 acres (610 ha) at an elevation of 4 feet (1 m) above mean sea level. It has three runways: 10/28 is 10,104 by 150 feet (3,080 x 46 m) with a concrete surface; 1/19 is 7,001 by 150 feet (2,134 x 46 m) with a concrete surface; 6/24 is 3,570 by 150 feet (1,088 x 46 m) with an asphalt surface.[2]

For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2007, the airport had 129,228 aircraft operations, an average of 354 per day: 58% scheduled commercial, 21% general aviation and 19% air taxi and 1% military. At that time there were 19 aircraft based at this airport: 21% single-engine, 21% multi-engine, 42% jet and 16% helicopter.[2]

International services[edit]

Armstrong International's Concourse C, located in the airport's West Terminal, contains a fully enclosed US Customs, Immigration, and FIS facility. The majority of the concourse's 15 gates offer direct access to this area and are thus capable of accepting foreign arrivals from all over the world, on aircraft as large as Boeing 747-400 intercontinental jetliners.

Currently, only Air Canada and Delta Air Lines operate scheduled international passenger service from the airport with Air Canada flying to Toronto, Canada and Delta flying to Cancun, Mexico. As of January 2015, United Airlines announced new scheduled weekly nonstop services to Cancun. Delta began new once a week nonstop service every Saturday to Cancun on March 7, 2015 with these flights being operated with Airbus A319 jetliners.[47] United will initiate new nonstop Boeing 737-900 jet service to Cancun once a week every Saturday effective May 9, 2015.[48] In February 2015, COPA Airlines announced new scheduled Boeing 737-700 jet service nonstop between New Orleans and Panama City, Panama effective June 24, 2015.[49]

Past international services[edit]

Over the years, New Orleans has had nonstop flights to nearly thirty international destinations, primarily in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Canada.

By the end of 1946 Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) was operating Douglas DC-4 propliners from MSY to Mérida, Mexico. By 1973 Pan Am Boeing 707 jetliners were flying from New Orleans nonstop to Mérida four days a week and nonstop to Guatemala City three days a week.[50] Also in 1973, Pan Am and Delta Air Lines were jointly operating scheduled Douglas DC-8 no change of plane jet service between New Orleans and London, England (Heathrow Airport) via stops in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.[35]

Chicago and Southern Air Lines (C&S, which merged with Delta Air Lines in 1953) flew Douglas DC-4s to Havana, Cuba. In 1949 C&S DC-4s initiated MSY to Caracas flights via Jamaica. Following its acquisition of C&S, Delta flew Douglas DC-7 propliners from MSY to Havana with continuing service to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Delta also operated Convair 880 and Douglas DC-8 jet flights from MSY to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Venezuela (Maracaibo and Caracas) and to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Delta discontinued all international service from MSY between the mid-1970s and 1980[51] but then began operating new nonstop service to Cancun, Mexico once a week on Saturdays effective on March 7. 2015.[52]

The airport also had other nonstop and direct flights to Europe. In 1982 British Airways Lockheed L-1011 TriStar widebody jetliners were flying a route between London (Gatwick Airport) and Mexico City with a stop in New Orleans for passengers and fuel. National Airlines flew a weekly McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 widebody service nonstop to Amsterdam from MSY in 1978.[53]

Eastern Air Lines flew nonstop from MSY to Mexico City with Douglas DC-7 propliners in 1960,[12] Douglas DC-8 jetliners in 1967,[54] and Boeing 727-100 jets in 1976.[13] In 1979 the airline was operating daily nonstop Boeing 727-100 jet service to Cancun, Mexico.[55] In 1983 Eastern was flying nonstop Boeing 727-200 service to Panama City, Panama twice a week.[14] This flight connected in Panama City to other Eastern flights which served South America.

In 1974 Braniff International Airlines was flying nonstop jet service once a week to Panama City, Panama.[56] In 1982 Braniff flew nonstop twice a week to Panama City, Panama with one-stop, direct servic to Caracas, Venezuela four times a week and also to Bogota, Colombia once a week.[57] These Boeing 727 flights connected to other Braniff flights in Panama City for service to South America.

In 1983 Continental Airlines was operating nonstop Boeing 727-200 jetliners once a week to Maracaibo, Venezuela.[58] In 1987 Continental was flying daily nonstops to Mexico City and Cancun, Mexico with Boeing 737-300 jets.[59]

Aeromexico was flying Douglas DC-9-30 jets nonstop to Mexico City and Cancun on a daily basis in 1991.[60]

Trans World Airlines (TWA) McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jetliners were operating nonstop to Mexico City from the 1990s into the early 2000s.

During the late 1960s VIASA Convair 880 jetliners flew nonstop twice a week to Maracaibo, Venezuela with continuing service to Caracas.[61]

During the 1960s through the early 2000s, Central American air carriers Aviateca, LACSA, TAN-SAHSA and TACA flew nonstop to Central America: Belize City, Guatemala City, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, La Ceiba, Roatan, Mérida, and Cancun. At one point TACA was actually headquartered in New Orleans before returning its headquarters to Central America in 1982. The networks of these former Central American air carriers have since been absorbed into that of Grupo TACA. These Central American airlines flew a variety of aircraft types into New Orleans, including Airbus A319s, Airbus A320s, Boeing 727-100s, 727-200s, 737-200s and 737-300s as well as British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven jets. Earlier services were flown via Douglas DC-6 prop and Lockheed L-188 Electra turboprop aircraft.

Japan Airlines (JAL) served the airport as part of a "special schedule" service linking Japan and South America in the mid 1960s and early 1970s with a routing of Tokyo-Honolulu-Los Angeles-New Orleans-Caracas-Belem-Rio de Janeiro flown with Douglas DC-8 jetliners.

Twice weekly seasonal New Orleans-to-Montego Bay nonstops via the Jamaica Shuttle/Casino Express (typically chartered Boeing 727-200 or 737-300 jets) operated for a decade during most of the 1990s and into the 2000s.

Laker Airways flew twice weekly seasonal Boeing 727-200 jet service nonstop between New Orleans and Freeport, Bahamas in the early 2000s.

Vacation Express was operating twice weekly seasonal charters between New Orleans and Cancun, Mexico for several years with Boeing 727-200, 737-200, 737-300 and McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft. This charter service was suspended after the company decided to concentrate on selling seats on regularly scheduled airline flights.

All international service into MSY was suspended while the FIS facility was closed post-Katrina. The facility reopened to chartered flights arriving from London, Manchester, Bournemouth, and Nottingham, UK—all carrying tourists in for Mardi Gras and set to depart aboard a cruise liner.

Return of scheduled international service[edit]

On April 7, 2009, it was announced that Aeromexico would begin nonstop flights six days a week between New Orleans and Mexico City commencing on July 6, 2009 with this service actually being operated by Aerolitoral dba AeroMexico Connect.[62] AeroMexico made several changes to its US network in the spring of 2010, and MSY-MEX service was reduced to an intermittent 2–3 times weekly frequency in March of that year.[63][64] However, Aeromexico then removed the route from their reservation system in June 2010, and the last flight operated on July 26, 2010.[65]

On July 14, 2010, Air Canada announced the resumption of daily nonstop service between Toronto and New Orleans, utilizing Bombardier CRJ705 regional jet aircraft (which is a version of the Canadair CRJ-900) operated by Air Canada Express featuring two classes of service. Service on this route began on October 30, 2010.[66]

On March 8, 2011, MSY was one of eight cities given approval for charter flights to Cuba.

On March 7, 2015, Delta Air Lines initiated new nonstop service once a week every Saturday to Cancun, Mexico with these flights being operated with Airbus A319 aircraft.[67]

Vacation Express currently offers direct service to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Cancun, Mexico with these flights being operated by various airlines including Delta to Cancun.

United Airlines will initiate new weekly nonstop service to Cancun, Mexico every Saturday effective May 9, 2015 operated with Boeing 737-900 aircraft.[68]

On February 3, 2015, NOLA.gov released a notification of new international airline service for New Orleans, with an announcement set for February 5. Unwittingly, the publication placed "Copa Airlines announcement" in the URL of release. On February 4, 2015, COPA Airlines' website became bookable with new four times a week nonstop service effective June 24, 2015 between New Orleans and Panama City, Panama to be flown with Boeing 737-700 aircraft.[69]

Terminals and concourses[edit]

The inside of MSY's Concourse C

Louis Armstrong International has two terminals, East and West, connected by a central ticketing alley. Attached are four concourses, A, B, C, and D.

Concourse A[edit]

Concourse A opened in 1974 and has 6 Gates: A1, A3, A5, A6, A7, A8. This concourse is closed until further notice.

Concourse B[edit]

Concourse B opened in 1974 and has 11 Gates: B1, B2, B4, B5, B7-B12, B15. Southwest Airlines (Gates B2, B4, B5, B7, B8, B9) operates out of this concourse. Gate B1 space has been taken over by TSA for passenger screening, and the gate is no longer in use. Gates B10, B11, B12, and B15 are currently vacant.

Concourse C[edit]

Except customs pre-cleared flights, all nonstop international arrivals are handled by Concourse C. This concourse also contains both common-use and overflow gates, available for infrequent services and charter flights as well. It was also remodeled in 2007 after the damage of the February 2006 tornado, which was designed by Manning Architects.[70]

Concourse C opened on March 18, 1992[71] and has 15 Gates: C1 – C12, C14 – C16. Allegiant Air (Gate C1), JetBlue Airways (Gate C2), Alaska Airlines (Gate C4), Delta Airlines (Gates C3, C5), Spirit Airlines (Gate C6), Frontier Airlines (Gate C9), American Airlines (Gates C8, C10, C12), and US Airways (Gates C11, C15, C16) all operate out of this concourse. Gates C1, C3, C5, C7, and C9 are currently common-use and overflow gates used during busy periods and for charter flights. C11 is also utilized by larger international arrival aircraft, due to offering the largest available apron space, and direct access to the concourse's customs/immigration area.

Concourse D[edit]

The newest concourse, D, opened on December 23, 1996 and houses a Delta Air Lines Sky Club in between gates D2 and D4, the sole such airline club remaining at Armstrong.[72] A six-gate rotunda, designed by Sizeler Thompson Brown,[73] has been built on the end of the concourse. This rotunda includes gates D7-12[74]

Concourse D has 12 operating Gates: D1 – D12. Delta Air Lines (Gates D2, D4, D6, D8, D10, D12), United Airlines (Gates D1, D3, D5, D7, D9, D11), and Air Canada Express (Gate D7) operate out of this concourse.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations Concourse
Air Canada Express Toronto-Pearson D
Alaska Airlines Seattle/Tacoma C
Allegiant Air Orlando/Sanford
Seasonal: Cincinnati, Columbus-Rickenbacker, Indianapolis
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami C
American Eagle Chicago-O'Hare, Miami C
Branson Air Express
operated by Orange Air
Branson (begins May 6, 2015),[75]
Seasonal: Cancún (begins May 6, 2015)
Copa Airlines Panama City (begins June 24, 2015)[76] C
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia
Seasonal: Cancun, Salt Lake City
Delta Connection Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Salt Lake City C/D
Frontier Airlines Atlanta (begins April 30, 2015), Denver C
JetBlue Airways Boston, New York-JFK C
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Dallas-Love, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston-Hobby, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Nashville, Newark, Oakland (begins June 7, 2015),[77] Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio (begins April 7, 2015),[78] San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington-National
Seasonal:San Antonio (ends April 6, 2015)
Spirit Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Houston-Intercontinental C
United Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, Washington-Dulles
Seasonal: Cancun (begins May 9, 2015)[79]
United Express Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, Washington-Dulles D
US Airways Charlotte, Philadelphia C
US Airways Express Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington-National C
Vacation Express operated by Swift Air Seasonal: Cancun C
Vacation Express operated by Sunwing Airlines Seasonal: Punta Cana (begins May 14, 2015) C


Top domestic destinations[edit]

Destinations map
Ten Busiest domestic routes Out of MSY
(January 2014 – December 2014)[80]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, GA 670,000 Delta, Southwest
2 Houston, TX (Bush) 406,000 Spirit, United
3 Dallas, TX (DFW) 325,000 American, Spirit
4 Houston, TX (Hobby) 296,000 Southwest
5 Charlotte, NC 239,000 US Airways
6 Dallas, TX (Love) 231,000 Southwest
7 Los Angeles, CA 219,000 Delta, Southwest, United
8 Denver, CO 207,000 Frontier, Southwest, United
9 Chicago, IL 160,000 American, Spirit, United
10 New York-JFK 141,000 Delta, JetBlue

Annual traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned) at New Orleans Airport, 2001 thru 2014[81][82]
Year Passengers Year Passengers
2010 8,203,305
2009 7,787,373
2008 7,967,997
2007 7,525,533
2006 6,218,419
2005 7,775,147
2014 9,785,394 2004 9,733,179
2013 9,207,636 2003 9,275,690
2012 8,600,989 2002 9,251,773
2011 8,548,375 2001 9,567,651

Ground transportation[edit]


Bus service between the airport and downtown New Orleans is provided by Jefferson Transit bus E-2.[83]


The airport also features taxicab services furnished by third-party operators that have fixed price schedules ($33 for first two passengers, $14 for each additional passenger) for rides to the city's Central Business District. All cabs serving the airport are required to accept credit cards for all services rendered.

Hotel shuttle[edit]

Airport Shuttle has services to most hotels and hostels in the Central Business District of New Orleans for $20 per person (one-way) and $38 per person (round-trip).[84]

Current improvements[edit]

The New Orleans Aviation Board, along with the Mayor of New Orleans Mitchell Landrieu, have recently approved a plan to build a brand new $826 million terminal building on the north side of the airport property. The new terminal will hopefully boost Southern Louisiana's economy. The terminal is set to be finished May 2018 in time for New Orleans' 300th anniversary. The new terminal will have two concourses, new shops and restaurants, 2,000 parking spaces, and a new privately funded airport hotel.[85][86]

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ http://www.flymsy.com/press-room/Airport-Surpasses-Pre-Katrina-Passenger-Numbers?&Sort=
  2. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for MSY (Form 5010 PDF), effective March 10, 2011.
  3. ^ [1] Airport Surpasses Pre-Katrina Numbers
  4. ^ America's Most Miserable Airports. U.S. News & World Report. February 11, 2008.
  5. ^ Welcome to the Best of New Orleans! Blake Pontchartrain March 29, 2005
  6. ^ "Dedication Plaque of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport – 2012". Airchive. 2CMedia. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  7. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-7B N4891C Gulf of Mexico." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on December 23, 2009.
  8. ^ "Dedication Plaque of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport – 2012". Airchive. 2CMedia. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  9. ^ timetableimages.com, July 1, 1935 Eastern Air Lines system timetable
  10. ^ timetableimages.com, March 1946 Eastern Air Lines system timetable
  11. ^ airliners.net, photo of Eastern L-1049C at MSY, photo ID #0095122
  12. ^ a b c timetableimages.com, June 1, 1960 Eastern Air Lines system timetable
  13. ^ a b c February 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American edition
  14. ^ a b departedflights.com, July 1, 1983 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Worldwide edition
  15. ^ timetableimages.com, June 1, 1961 Capital Airlines timetable
  16. ^ timetableimages.com, July 1, 1948 Capital Airlines timetable
  17. ^ timetableimages.com, October 30, 1960 Capital Airlines system timetable
  18. ^ timetableimages.com, August 5, 1963 United Air Lines timetable
  19. ^ timetableimages.com, May 1, 1938 National Airlines timetable
  20. ^ departedflights.com, May 1, 1979 National Airlines timetable
  21. ^ February 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide, North American edition
  22. ^ timetableimages.com; April 14, 1969 Braniff International timetable
  23. ^ timetableimages.com, July 1, 1965 Braniff International timetable
  24. ^ timetableimages.com, July 1, 1968 Braniff International timetable
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  26. ^ departedflights.com, April 25, 1982 Braniff International timetable
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  32. ^ departedflights.com, October 30, 1994 Continental Airlines timetable
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  34. ^ timetableimages.com, October 30, 1960 Delta Air Lines timetable
  35. ^ a b http://www.departedflights.com, March 1, 1973 Delta Air Lines system timetable, New Orleans-London flight schedule
  36. ^ a b departedflights.com, March 1, 1973 Delta Air Lines timetable
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  38. ^ "JAL route map, 1970". Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
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  43. ^ "AP New Orleans News Online Breaking News & Headlines from Associated Press". nola.com. November 1, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
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  45. ^ "AirTran Airways – Press Release". Pressroom.airtran.com. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
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  48. ^ http://www.united.com
  49. ^ http://www.copaair.com, News
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  51. ^ "Airchive". Airchive. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  52. ^ http://www.delta.com, Flight Schedules
  53. ^ "Celebrating 10 Years with out heads in the clouds – Airline Industry News and More". Airchive.com. Retrieved August 16, 2013. 
  54. ^ timetableimages.com, June 13, 1967 Eastern Air Lines system timetable
  55. ^ departedflights.com, November 15, 1979 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American edition
  56. ^ departedflights.com, October 27, 1974 Braniff International system timetable
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  61. ^ timetableimages.com, April 1, 1967 VIASA system timetable
  62. ^ MICHAEL DeMOCKER / The Times-Picayune. "New Orleans' Louis Armstrong Airport to resume international service". NOLA.com. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  63. ^ Kathy Anderson/The Times-Picayune archive. "AeroMexico will reduce service to New Orleans starting next month". NOLA.com. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  64. ^ "Aeromexico slows down expansion of US network". Flightglobal.com. February 5, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
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  70. ^ Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport Concourse C – Manning Architects
  71. ^ Chatelain, Kim (March 19, 1992). "Airport Concourse is Opened to Raves". The Times-Picayune (New Orleans). 
  72. ^ Grissett, Sheila (December 24, 1996). "Airport's Big D New Concourse Sleek, Modern and Best of All, Shorter". The Times-Picayune (New Orleans). 
  73. ^ Travel – Sizeler Thompson Brown
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  75. ^ Lipinski, Jed. New Orleans airport announces new non-stops to Branson, Cincinnati and Cancun, The Times-Picayune, January 28, 2015, Retrieved 2015-01-28
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  78. ^ [3]
  79. ^ "UNITED Adds Summer Seasonal New Orleans – Cancun Operation from May 2015". airlineroute.net. February 18, 2015. 
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  81. ^ Airport Data & Statistics. Retrieved on Mar 29, 2015.
  82. ^ A More Transparent and Accountable Airport (statistics contained within Financial Statements and Supplemental Schedules for the years 2003 thru 2013). Retrieved on Mar 29, 2015.
  83. ^ "Jefferson Transport Bus Routes". Jefferson Parish Transport. Retrieved April 26, 2013. 
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  85. ^ Bond Commission approves borrowing for New Orleans airport makeover. Retrieved Mar 29, 2015.
  86. ^ Capital Improvements. Retrieved Mar 29, 2015.

External links[edit]