Major expansion to change face of airport


Posted on January 16, 2014 at 4:31 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 16 at 6:41 PM

Antwan Harris / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @antwanharris

KENNER, La. -- In the next few years, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport will look much different than its current self.

The city announced Thursday the plans to build a new $826 million airport expansion that would rival most terminals in the United States.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said any great city must have an even greater travel hub.

"It really is one of the things that has transformed and built economies in cities around the world,” Landrieu said.

The sleek new design will feature more than 650,000 square feet of space, have 30 departure and arrival gates, 2000 parking spaces and a state-of-the-art hotel attached.

The project is expected to pump in $1.7 billion to the local economy from just construction alone.

The mayor said the current airport is more than 50 years old and now becoming a financial strain.

"You are going to see a project that is going to produce for this region and city unmatched opportunity for local businesses and DBEs,” Landrieu said.

On top of the 13,000 jobs this project will create, the new facility is projected to have a ripple effect for local businesses.

Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni said the plans fall in line with his vision for the area.

"This is right where we needed to be,” Yennie said. “We are redoing corridors right near this airport, and you will see a much better Kenner, a much better airport and a much better region."

Airport officials say everything is in the planning phase right now. The next step is to meet with potential contractors. The goal is to have the airport open by spring 2018.

Aviation officials say airport funds and aviation grants will pay for the project.

The current facility will be used as office space after the new airport is complete.