Update: The city of New Orleans says the Louis Armstrong International Airport has power again and that commercial flights should resume tomorrow. They say check with your carrier.
David Hammer / Eyewitness News
KENNER, La. - New Orleans International Airport and its 250 flights a day remain shut down and without power Thursday, even as the effects of Hurricane Isaac subside.
Airport Director Iftikhar Ahmad said the terminal sustained roof damage, with leaks "all over the place.”
Entergy-Louisiana is working to get power back, said Entergy’s Charles Rice. He said they have to fix downed power poles on Airline Highway, then fix damaged equipment at the airport and then work their way back into the surrounding city of Kenner.
But even if the power is restored quickly, the airport still has problems because the airport approach lights, which rise 7-10 feet in the air along the runways, are under 3 feet of water, Ahmad said. The inundated portion of the approach lights contain key electrical equipment that may be damaged, Ahmad said.
The airport has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to implement Visual Flight Rules, which would allow flights to take off and land during daylight hours. The wind speed is acceptable for flying. Now, Ahmad and other airport officials have to convince the airlines to fly using the Visual Flight Rules once power is restored in the terminal.
“I’ve got 250 flights a day, so I can’t not have flights,” he said. “I’m hoping we can have flights later today.”
There are no passengers stranded at the airport, but some have had to stay at area hotels because of flight cancellations. Mark Romig of the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corp. said the hotels are at 35 percent of capacity and expect more visitors for the weekend. The city’s Decadence Festival is scheduled to go on as planned, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, as will Tulane University’s football game Saturday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.