NEW ORLEANS — The grand opening of a new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is being delayed until later this year.

In a statement released Thursday, the New Orleans Aviation Board said that the terminal will be opened to the public in fall 2019. The board blamed "complex coordination of construction activities" for the delay.

"I accept the responsibility of making sure that when our new airport opens, it is at 100 percent readiness," Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. "The fact is: it is not ready, and there is more work to be done to get us there."

The statement said the delay will give workers more time for testing, training and implementation of key systems at the terminal. It added that there will be no impact to flights to and from MSY because of the delay. 

"We have the luxury of being in a fully-functioning facility right now," said Kevin Dolliole, the director of aviation at Armstrong International. "This will have no impact on flight service. You'll use this facility (the current one) and fly in and out just as you always have."

Dolliole said that a specific opening day will be confirmed at a later time, but he said it would not go into 2020.

"This is a billion dollar project," he said. "It's a significant project for our region. The last thing you want to do is go into a facility and have systems not working."

Crews are still working to get new surface streets leading to the airport as well to avoid any traffic problems the new terminal could cause.

"This will give us more time to address that," Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn said. "You want to make sure that move is made only one time. I'm pretty sure this is the best solution for everyone involved."

Thursday's announcement marks the fourth time that the terminal's opening has been delayed. The project was originally scheduled to be finished in May 2018 for New Orleans' tricentennial celebrations. The opening was then pushed back to October 2018, February 2019 and then May 15, 2019.

Construction on the project began in January 2016. Officials say the project is 95% complete. 


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