Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

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Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
Moisant Field
Louis Armstrong Airport logo.png
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport - Louisiana.jpg
2006 USGS orthophoto, prior to the construction of the current terminal
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of New Orleans
OperatorNew Orleans Aviation Board
ServesNew Orleans metropolitan area
LocationKenner, Louisiana, United States
Focus city forBreeze Airways
Elevation AMSL4 ft / 1 m
Coordinates29°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
MSY is located in Louisiana
Location of airport in Louisiana
MSY is located in the United States
MSY (the United States)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
11/29 10,104 3,080 Asphalt/concrete
02/20 7,001 2,134 Concrete
Statistics (2021)
Aircraft operations78,276
Based aircraft21
Total Passengers8,066,869
Source: MSY[1] and FAA[2]

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (IATA: MSY, ICAO: KMSY, FAA LID: MSY) (French: Aéroport international Louis Armstrong de La Nouvelle-Orléans) is an international airport under Class B airspace in Kenner, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States. It is owned by the city of New Orleans and is 11 miles (18 km) west of downtown New Orleans.[3] A small portion of Runway 11/29 is in unincorporated St. Charles Parish. Armstrong International is the primary commercial airport for the New Orleans metropolitan area and southeast Louisiana.

MSY covers 1,500 acres (607 ha) of land.[3] At an average of 4.5 feet (1.4 m) above sea level, MSY is the second lowest-lying international airport in the world, only behind Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands, which is 11 feet (3.4 m) below sea level.


The airport in the 1960s


Plans for a new airport began in 1940, as evidence mounted that the older Shushan Airport (New Orleans Lakefront Airport) was too small.

The airport was originally named Moisant Field 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 code NEW.[4] 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 Fort Lauderdale Hurricane's impact.

When commercial service began at Moisant Field in 1946, the terminal was a large, makeshift hangar-like building—a sharp contrast to airports in then-peer cities. 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 formed much of the facility used until November 2019.[5] 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 original terminal was designed by Goldstein Parham & Labouisse and Herbert A. Benson, George J. Riehl and built by J. A. Jones Company, and opened in 1959. The core of this structure formed much of the facility used until November 2019. It is situated on the south side of the airfield. The terminal contained two sections, East and West, connected by a central ticketing alley. Four concourses, A, B, C and D, were attached to the terminal, and had a total of 47 gates. The vaulted arrivals lounge at the head of Concourse C and the adjacent, western half of the ticketing alley are the remaining portions of the airport's 1959 terminal complex.

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. These initiatives met with the same fate as 1960s-era efforts concerning construction of a new airport for New Orleans.

Historical airline service[edit]

In 1969, Braniff International Airways was operating direct, no change of plane service to Honolulu via a stop at Dallas with Boeing 707-320 jetliners flying the route three days a week with one of the flights also making a stop at Hilo.[6] By the early and mid-1970s, airlines operating jet service into the airport included domestic air carriers Braniff International, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Eastern Air Lines, National Airlines (1934-1980), Southern Airways, Texas International Airlines and United Airlines as well as Central American airlines Aviateca and SAHSA.[7][8] In 1974, two airlines had begun operating wide body jetliners into the airport: National with McDonnell Douglas DC-10 nonstops from Houston Intercontinental Airport, Los Angeles, Miami, and Tampa, and Delta with Lockheed L-1011 TriStar nonstop service from LaGuardia Airport in New York City.[9] Several other airlines also operated wide body jets on domestic flights into the airport at various times during the 1980s and early 1990s including American Airlines and Pan Am with the DC-10,[10] Eastern with the L-1011 TriStar,[11] and Continental and Northeastern International Airways with the Airbus A300 with the latter air carrier operating a small hub at MSY in the spring of 1984.[12][13] Another airline which attempted to operate a hub at MSY was short-lived Pride Air which was based in New Orleans and was operating nonstop or direct Boeing 727 service from the airport to sixteen destinations including cities in California, Florida, and the western U.S. in the summer of 1985.[14]

During the 1960s, Japan Airlines (JAL) used New Orleans as a technical stop on its multi-stop special service between Tokyo and São Paulo, Brazil.[15][16] On January 25, 1979, Southwest Airlines began nonstop Boeing 737-200 flights between New Orleans and Houston Hobby Airport thus marking the first time this air carrier had operated service outside of the state of Texas. By early 1985, air carriers operating jet service into MSY besides Southwest included American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Eastern Air Lines, Florida Express Airlines, LACSA, Muse Air, New York Air, Northwest Airlines (operating as Northwest Orient Airlines at this time), Ozark Air Lines, Pan Am, Piedmont Airlines, Republic Airlines, Trans World Airlines (TWA), United Airlines, USAir and Western Airlines with commuter air carriers Air New Orleans and Royale Airlines operating small turboprop aircraft into the airport at this same time as well.[17]

National Airlines operated New Orleans' first transatlantic flight in July 1978; the carrier began offering direct service to Frankfurt via Amsterdam aboard McDonnell Douglas DC-10s.[18][19][20] Less than a month later, however, National reported that the flight would make an additional stop in Tampa to board more passengers, as demand was low from New Orleans. The airline intended to bring back a nonstop route to Europe the following year.[21] Nevertheless, Pan Am did not continue any transatlantic service from Louisiana after assuming control of National Airlines in 1980.[22] Meanwhile, British Airways flew to the airport between 1981 and 1982; the airline's Lockheed L-1011 TriStars would refuel and pick up passengers in New Orleans en route from Mexico City to Gatwick Airport near London.[18][23][24]

By the time the previous airport terminal building opened in 1959, the name Moisant International Airport was being used for the New Orleans facility. In 1961, the name was changed to New Orleans International Airport.[25] 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.[26]

Post-Hurricane Katrina capacity restoration[edit]

Armstrong Airport, June 2007

MSY reopened to commercial flights on September 13, 2005, after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina the previous month, 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. 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 (since merged into United Airlines) became the first airline to return to pre-Katrina flight frequency levels, and in September 2006, to pre-Katrina seat capacity levels.

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.

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 that 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."

Recent years[edit]

In 2013, city leaders started reaching out to different airlines with the goal of convincing one of them to introduce a link between New Orleans and a European metropolis. Their efforts paid off when British Airways returned to Louisiana in March 2017 with nonstop Boeing 787 service to London's Heathrow Airport.[22] In May, Condor reconnected New Orleans to Frankfurt, this time with seasonal, nonstop service.[23][27]

MSY served 9,785,394 passengers in 2014, exceeding for the first time in the post-Katrina era the total passenger count of 9,733,179 achieved in 2004, the last full calendar year prior to Katrina's landfall in August 2005. A new record passenger count was set by the airport in 2015. 10,673,301 passengers were served, eclipsing the earlier record of 9.9 million passengers, set in 2000.

In December 2015, the New Orleans Aviation Board, along with the Mayor of New Orleans and City Council, approved a plan to build a new $598 million terminal building on the north side of the airport property with two concourses and 30 gates.[28] Construction began January 2016, with Hunt-Gibbs-Boh-Metro listed as the contractor at-risk. During the construction, the scope of the project was expanded so the terminal would feature 35 gates.[29] The new terminal opened in November 2019.[30]



MSY has a single terminal with three concourses and 35 gates.[31] Departures and Ticketing are on Level 3, TSA Security Screening is on Level 2, and Arrivals and Baggage Claim are on Level 1.[32] International flights are processed in Concourse A, which contains the airport's customs facilities.

  • Concourse A has 6 gates.[31]
  • Concourse B has 14 gates.[31]
  • Concourse C has 15 gates.[31]
The new terminal

Ground transportation[edit]

The terminal is served by Interstate 10 at exit 221.[33] Bus service between the airport and downtown New Orleans is provided by New Orleans Regional Transit Authority Airport Express Route 202 and Jefferson Transit bus E-2.[34] Airport Shuttle has services to most hotels and hostels in the Central Business District of New Orleans for $22 per person (one-way) and $44 per person (round-trip).[35]

The rental car facility is on the south side of the airfield next to the former terminal.[36]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Air Canada Express Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Montreal–Trudeau (begins October 31, 2022)[37]
Air Transat Seasonal: Montreal–Trudeau (resumes November 1, 2022)[39]
Alaska Airlines Portland (OR) (begins January 5, 2023), Seattle/Tacoma
Allegiant Air Charlotte–Concord, Cincinnati
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor (resumes October 30, 2022), Washington–National [41]
American Eagle Austin, Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Miami, Washington–National [41]
Breeze Airways Charleston (SC), Fayetteville/Bentonville, Jacksonville (FL), Louisville, Norfolk, Richmond, Savannah (begins September 9, 2022),[42] West Palm Beach[43]
Seasonal: Akron/Canton,[44] Columbus–Glenn[44]
British Airways London–Heathrow [46]
Copa Airlines Panama City–Tocumen (resumes June 30, 2023)[47]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Salt Lake City [48]
Frontier Airlines Atlanta, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham
Seasonal: Cincinnati
JetBlue Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia [50]
Silver Airways Jacksonville (FL)
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Cancún, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston–Hobby, Houston–Intercontinental, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York–LaGuardia, Orlando, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington–National
Seasonal: Long Beach (begins January 8, 2023)[51]
Spirit Airlines Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cancún, Chicago–O'Hare, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Houston–Intercontinental, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Pedro Sula, Tampa
Seasonal: Columbus–Glenn
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul [53]
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, San Francisco, Washington–Dulles [54]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, Washington–Dulles [54]


Amazon Air Lakeland
DHL Aviation Cincinnati, Houston–Intercontinental, Memphis
FedEx Express Fort Lauderdale, Indianapolis, Memphis
UPS Airlines Louisville


Passenger numbers[edit]

Annual passenger traffic at MSY airport. See source Wikidata query.

Top domestic destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from MSY (April 2021 – March 2022)[55]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 526,000 Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit
2 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 327,000 American, Spirit
3 Houston–Intercontinental, Texas 322,000 Southwest, Spirit, United
4 Denver, Colorado 264,000 Frontier, Southwest, United
5 Orlando, Florida 231,000 Frontier, Southwest, Spirit
6 Dallas–Love, Texas 217,000 Southwest
7 Charlotte, North Carolina 206,000 American
8 Houston–Hobby, Texas 193,000 Southwest
9 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 177,000 American, Spirit, United
10 Miami, Florida 169,000 American, Southwest

Airline market share[edit]

Largest airlines at MSY (April 2020 – March 2021)[55]
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 Southwest Airlines 1,305,000 35.57%
2 American Airlines 615,000 16.75%
3 Spirit Airlines 519,000 14.15%
4 Delta Air Lines 403,000 10.98%
5 United Airlines 256,000 6.98%
6 Other 571,000 15.57%

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On November 16, 1959 National Airlines Flight 967, a Douglas DC-7 flying from Tampa to New Orleans crashed into the Gulf of Mexico.[56] All 42 passengers and crew were killed.
  • On February 25, 1964, Eastern Air Lines Flight 304 operated with a Douglas DC-8 flying from New Orleans International Airport to Washington Dulles International Airport crashed nine minutes after takeoff. All 51 passengers and 7 crew members were killed.[57]
  • On March 30, 1967, Delta Air Lines Flight 9877, a Douglas DC-8-51, a training exercise with 6 crewmembers aboard, crashed on approach to MSY at 12:50 AM Central Time Zone after simulating a two-engine out approach, resulting in a loss of control. All 6 crewmembers and 13 on the ground were killed. The DC-8 crashed into a residential area, destroying several homes and a motel complex.[58]
  • 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 members on board. The aircraft was operating a domestic non-scheduled passenger flight from Memphis International Airport, Tennessee.[59]
  • On July 9, 1982, Pan Am Flight 759, en route from Miami to San Diego, departed New Orleans International on its way to a second stop-over at Las Vegas. 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.[60]
  • On May 24, 1988, TACA Flight 110 was forced to glide without power and make an emergency landing on top of a levee east of New Orleans International Airport after flame-out in both engines of the Boeing 737-300 in a severe thunderstorm. There were no casualties and the aircraft was subsequently repaired and returned to service.[61]
  • On April 4, 2011, United Airlines Flight 497 en route from New Orleans to San Francisco made an emergency landing back at New Orleans after smoke entered the cockpit due to an electrical fault. The aircraft excursed from the runway during landing, sustaining minor damage. All 109 people on board evacuated the aircraft with no injuries.[62]

See also[edit]


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website https://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ "Airport Data & Statistics". Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. January 2020. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  2. ^ http://www.gcr1.com/5010WEB/REPORTS/AFD03052015MSY.pdf[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b FAA Airport Form 5010 for MSY PDF, effective December 30, 2021.
  4. ^ Welcome to the Best of New Orleans! Blake Pontchartrain March 29, 2005 Archived November 26, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Dedication Plaque of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport – 2012". Airchive. 2CMedia. Archived from the original on March 23, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  6. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com Archived February 2, 2001, at the Wayback Machine, May 5, 1969 Braniff International Mainland-Hawaii flight schedules effective April 14, 1969
  7. ^ "MSY73". www.departedflights.com. Archived from the original on December 6, 2017. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  8. ^ http://www.departedflights.com Archived December 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, April 1, 1975 Official Airline Guide (OAG), New Orleans flight schedules
  9. ^ http://www.departedflights.com Archived December 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, April 1, 1974 Official Airline Guide (OAG), New Orleans flight schedules
  10. ^ http://www.departedflights.com Archived December 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, July 1, 1983 & Dec. 15, 1989 editions, Official Airline Guide (OAG), New Orleans flights schedules
  11. ^ http://www.departedflights.com Archived December 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, April 1, 1981 Official Airline Guide (OAG), New Orleans flight schedules
  12. ^ http://www.departedflights.com Archived December 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Oct. 4, 1991 Official Airline Guide (OAG), New Orleans flight schedules
  13. ^ http://www.departedflights.com Archived December 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, May 1, 1984 Northeastern International Airlines system timetable
  14. ^ http://www.departedflights.com Archived December 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Aug. 1, 1985 Pride Air system timetable
  15. ^ "JAL timetable, 1961". timetableimages.com. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013.
  16. ^ "JAL timetable, 1966". timetableimages.com. Archived from the original on December 26, 2013.
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  18. ^ a b Caire, Vincent P. (2012). Louisiana Aviation: An Extraordinary History in Photographs. Louisiana State University Press. p. 71. ISBN 9780807142110.
  19. ^ "July 2, National Airlines introduces the only nonstop service to Europe from New Orleans [National Airlines advertisement]". The Daily Advertiser. Lafayette, LA. June 6, 1978. p. 15. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  20. ^ "First line flight National Airlines from New Orleans at Schiphol; members Pete Fountain Jazzband and Dutch cheese girls at Schiphol Date: 3 July 1978 Location: Noord-Holland, Schiphol : Verhoeff, Bert/Anefo - Image ID: 2AT17WE". Alamy. July 3, 1978. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
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  27. ^ Schecter, Jennifer Gibson (February 12, 2020). "Fly the Freundlicher Skies". Biz New Orleans. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
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  31. ^ a b c d "MSY Terminal Map". Retrieved March 12, 2021.
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  37. ^ "Air Canada Schedules New Sun Destinations From Montreal in NW22". Aeroroutes. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  38. ^ "Flight Schedules". Archived from the original on September 25, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  39. ^ "Nonstop flights from MSY to this international destination will resume in November".
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  47. ^ "Know about our non operating destinations".
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  53. ^ "Route Map & Flight Schedule". Archived from the original on August 15, 2018. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  54. ^ a b "Timetable". Archived from the original on January 28, 2017. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  55. ^ a b "BTS Statistics for MSY". Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  56. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-7B N4891C Gulf of Mexico Archived August 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on December 23, 2009.
  57. ^ Accident description for N8607 at the Aviation Safety Network
  58. ^ Accident description for N802E at the Aviation Safety Network
  59. ^ "N142D Accident Description". Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  60. ^ Accident description for N4737 at the Aviation Safety Network
  61. ^ Accident description for N75356 at the Aviation Safety Network
  62. ^ Ranter, Harro. "Incident Airbus A320-232 N409UA, 04 Apr 2011". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved November 17, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]