The City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Aviation Board (NOAB) have announced that, after evaluating the status of all construction activities and consulting with key stakeholders, the new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (IATA: MSY) will now open to the public in the autumn of 2019. The two organisations said: “The complex coordination of construction activities during the final phase of this major project has impacted the ability to provide the new, state-of-the-art airport facility to the Greater New Orleans region on the previously-scheduled date of May 15, 2019.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell commented: “This is a once in a lifetime investment that will benefit our city, region, state and all of our people. I accept the responsibility of making sure that when our new airport opens, it is at 100% readiness. The fact is: it is not ready, and there is more work to be done to get us there. I fully support the additional time needed and look forward to opening our new, completely operational facility at its peak on Day One.”
The NOAB said that with passenger safety and customer experience as its top priority, the adjusted schedule will provide more time for testing, training, and implementation of key systems to transition operations to the new terminal. It will also give local residents time to become accustomed to the new access routes.
Doug Thornton, chairman of the New Orleans Aviation Board Construction Committee said: “Throughout the construction process, the Board has received progress updates, and we believe that this decision is in the best interest of our partners and the community. We can easily continue to operate in our existing facility during this short period until the new terminal is ready for full activation. It’s a big and complicated project, so it’s important we take this time to ensure that all systems are fully functional. Kevin C Dolliole, director of aviation, added: “This is one of the most significant infrastructure projects in this region’s history. We want to make sure that we get it right. The additional time is going to allow us to deliver a world-class airport and ensure a safe and seamless transition so that our passengers have the best possible experience.”
The existing airport facility remains operational, and the management team said there will be no impact to flights to and from MSY as a result of this change. As airport officials continue to evaluate the project construction schedule, a specific opening date will be confirmed in advance of the move so the general public and other stakeholders can make any necessary preparations.
The airport noted that because a move of this magnitude impacts employees, tenants, suppliers, and the surrounding community, it will also continue with its plans to conduct real-life passenger trials prior to facility opening.
In the coming weeks, MSY will solicit volunteers of all ages and travel experience to participate in trials to be conducted before the opening of the terminal. Those interested in participating should visit www.thenewmsy.com to sign up to receive additional information.
Announced in April 2013, the new terminal has been under construction on the north side of the airport property since January 2016 and is now nearly 95% complete.