Another Record-Breaking Year of Passenger Traffic at New Orleans Airport

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) announced today, Feb. 18, that an all-time record of 13,122,762 total passengers traveled through the airport in 2018, which is 9.3 percent higher than the previous record in 2017. This marks the fourth consecutive year of record-breaking passenger totals and eighth year of continued passenger growth, with an increase of 60 percent since 2010. The announcement was made in a press release.

“The record-breaking number of passengers moving through our airport is a testament to the strength of New Orleans’ economy,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “The new terminal complex opening in May will help us support and sustain this phenomenal growth.”

The strength of the regional economy led to steady growth in air service at MSY. In 2018, several new flights were announced including four to new destinations—Louisville, KY (SDF), Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ), Sacramento, CA (SMF) and San Jose, CA (SJC). MSY also added new airline, Sun Country Airlines, to its ranks with nonstop service to Minneapolis, MN (MSP) and Nashville, TN (BNA). Overall, the airport saw an average of 159 flights per day, which is nine more than last year’s average.

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Freight and mail operations also increased by 12.8 percent in 2018, and international freight increased by 58.5 percent, which is mostly attributable to transatlantic flights via British Airways and Condor.

MSY previously broke records in 2015 with 10.6 million passengers, in 2016 with 11.1 million passengers and in 2017 with 12 million passengers.

The airport is currently host to 15 airlines and 53 nonstop destinations.  Air service highlights from 2018 include:

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February 2018

  • Delta Air Lines began twice weekly service to Seattle (SEA) and Boston (BOS).

March 2018

  • Spirit Airlines started seasonal, nonstop service to Columbus, OH (CMH).
  • Southwest Airlines began flying to Sacramento, CA (SMF), a new destination from MSY. April 2018•    Southwest Airlines launched flights to a new nonstop San Jose (SJC), as well as its very first international flight from New Orleans to Cancun (CUN).
  • Frontier Airlines added twice weekly flights to Raleigh-Durham, NC (RDU).

May 2018

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  • Vacation Express expanded service to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ).

September 2018

  • Sun Country, a new airline, launched seasonal service with twice weekly flights to Minneapolis.

October 2018

  • American Airlines began an additional daily frequency to Los Angeles.

November 2018

  • Southwest Airlines added daily flights to New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA).
  • Sun Country launched seasonal flights to Nashville, its second destination from New Orleans.

New routes launching in 2019 are as follows:

February 2019

  • Alaska Airlines adds a new daily departure to Seattle.
  • Allegiant launches seasonal service to Louisville, MO (SDF), a new destination from MSY.
  • Spirit Airlines begins daily flights to Austin (AUS) and Denver (DEN).

May 2019

  • Vacation Express begins seasonal flights to Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ), a new destination from New Orleans.
  • Spirit Airlines starts seasonal, twice-weekly flights to Philadelphia, PA (PHL).
  • Spirit Airlines launches daily, nonstop service to Raleigh-Durham, NC (RDU).

June 2019

  • Delta Air Lines begins nonstop weekend service to Raleigh-Durham, NC (RDU).

More Key Accomplishments in 2018

  • With the opening of a new $1 billion terminal approaching in May 2019, the airport saw other key project milestones and other accomplishments in 2018.
  • Recognized by Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) in January 2018 with a Merit Award for air service development efforts that resulted in flights to 15 new destinations in the past two years.
  • Launched an airport therapy dog program called MSY K9 Krewe in June 2018.
  • Secured $20.3 million airport infrastructure grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as part of its Airport Improvement Program (AIP) for airports across the United States in September 2018.
  • Partnered with the Audubon Nature Institute in November 2018 to provide a unique experience for passengers to interact with a live juvenile alligator every Friday in baggage claim.
  • Clear began offering biometric passenger identification service in December 2018 to travelers on Concourse D.
  • Director of Aviation Kevin Dolliole named one of Biz New Orleans’ Business People of the Year in December 2018.

“I’m thrilled to see yet another record-breaking year of passenger traffic through the New Orleans Airport. With the new terminal coming on line soon, we are laying the foundation for a strong and thriving future for MSY and the people of New Orleans,” said New Orleans councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, chair of the Transportation and Airport Committee.

“The New Orleans Airport has seen exponential growth over the last several years,” said New Orleans Aviation Board chairwoman Cheryl Teamer. “I want to express my gratitude to the hard work and dedication of the airport staff and my fellow board members for all they are doing to move the airport forward. As a result, we are continuing to secure new flights and improve the guest experience for passengers, and we are very excited for the things to come in 2019!”

“Here at MSY, we are focused on building on the momentum created by the success of this market,” said Kevin Dolliole, director of Aviation at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. “Delivering new world-class airport facilities that the people of the New Orleans region can be proud of is a major priority for the Airport staff in 2019, and everyone is diligently working to ensure a smooth transition to our new terminal in May.”


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