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$1B New Orleans Terminal Opens

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

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The City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Aviation Board announced the official opening of a new $1 billion terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) last month. The project replaces the original 60-year-old terminal.

"We are thrilled to announce the opening of the new terminal. With modern conveniences like a consolidated security checkpoint and an inline baggage screening system, the new facility will be a major improvement for travelers,” said Kevin Dolliole, Director of Aviation for MSY.

“When we open the doors, passengers will feel the spirit of the New Orleans region throughout the facility through the presence of local restaurants and shops that characterize our distinct culture.”

The Project

Starting back in 2011, the New Orleans Aviation Board conducted an analysis on what options the city had regarding the construction of a new airport. By 2013, it was announced that the "Northside Alternative” plan would go into effect, and three years later, construction broke ground using a design based on an initial concept by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.


The City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Aviation Board new terminal announced the official opening of the new $1 billion terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) last month. The project replaces the original 60-year-old terminal.

After several years of planning and design work by Crescent City Aviation Team—a joint venture of Atkins and LEO A DALY—the new North Terminal officially opened to the public on Nov. 6, after having been rescheduled four times since its original target date for May 2018.

Tim Duffy, AIA, Director of Technical Services for LEO A DALY, commented: “This was an unbelievably complex project to coordinate, involving around 50 specialty subconsultants working on dozens of digital models simultaneously in studios across the country.”

According to reports, the 972,000-square-foot passenger terminal encompasses three concourses with 35 gates, complete with a centralized passenger security checkpoint expected to ease large tourist crowds during the city’s special events. The new facility also features two new parking garages, a surface parking lot and an economy garage, totaling over 8,000 spaces combined.

MSY also features a glass curtain wall that underwent extensive wind-tunnel modeling and various onsite testing, which proved to be able to withstand hurricane-force winds. The roof of the terminal was designed using a spherical roof shape that will be able to accommodate for heavy rainfall.

LEO A DALY reports that the structure required 5,000 piles inserted 100 feet into the sandy bed below, in order to further accommodate for storm resistance.

"The opening of the new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is a major milestone for the City of New Orleans and for our region,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

"The economy of the City is diversifying and thriving, and this new facility will accommodate the increased traffic being attracted to the area. The new airport terminal is the largest infrastructure project for New Orleans since the Superdome, and we look forward to providing our residents and visitors with a new and improved airport experience.”

Touching on the terminal’s architecture, Building Construction + Design reports that the new facility reflects a homage to the gentle curves of the Mississippi River, while also incorporating New Orleans culture, geography and history.

Within the terminal’s three-story central atrium, visitors are greeted with a collection of skylights and a jazz garden complete with live music. Additionally, over 40 post-security concessions have been opened within the new MSY terminal.

Other amenities available at the new terminal include:

  • Fast, free Wi-Fi;
  • Chargers available at 50% of the seats in the gate areas;
  • Water bottle refilling stations;
  • Three Mothers Rooms;
  • Fully-automated restrooms with sanitary seat covers;
  • A pet relief area;
  • Music venues;
  • An in-line baggage screening system; and
  • Three curbside check-in locations that have access to the short-term garage.

All 16 commercial airlines have been reported to offer flights from the new terminal, while the older facility has closed to the public.

"As the largest commercial airport in the state of Louisiana, we know this infrastructure investment will have a lasting impact in our community,” said Michael Bagneris, chair of the New Orleans Aviation Board. “I strongly believe the new MSY gives us all the best opportunity to compete in the global, 21st-century economy.”


Tagged categories: Airports; Architects; Color + Design; Color + Design; Commercial / Architectural; Commercial Construction; Commercial contractors; Construction; Design; Design - Commercial; Design build; NA; North America; Terminals

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