New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and leaders throughout the region are unveiling plans to build a new airport. Supporters say it makes financial sense to replace the current 50-year-old terminal.
Mayor Landrieu says the new terminal will be built on the north side of the current airport property. He says it should cost more than $800 million and be finished in 2018 — the city’s 300th anniversary. The plan comes after $300 million was spent spiffing up the old terminal in time for the Super Bowl.
Greater New Orleans Incorporated President Michael Hecht says the money spent on renovations was not wasted.
“We had no choice. But now, where we are today, looking forward, the most cost efficient and revenue efficient way to go forward is to build new.”
Hecht says the aging design was expensive to operate.
“If you notice in a modern airport all of the retail is behind security when people are kind of a captive audience. In our airport, most of the retail is in front of security and so their sales are about 50 percent lower than they would be in a modern airport setting.”
He says the increased revenue will help attract more flights, because having planes at the airport will become cheaper for airlines.
Landrieu says the cost estimate includes improved access from Interstate 10, a power plant and an on-site hotel. He says the terminal will be paid for with funds generated at the airport, with state and federal funds. He says no city money will fund any part of the project.