New Orleans on track for terminal ground breaking by November

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New Orleans International airport is on track to break ground on a new 30-gate terminal building in either October or November, says executive director Iftikhar Ahmad.

The new $826 million facility on the north side of the airport will replace the existing facility, some parts of which are more than 50 years old, when it opens in the second quarter of 2018.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Airports Council International North America (ACI-NA) Jumpstart conference in Edmonton on 25 June, Ahmad says that the project is “going very well” and should open on time.

“Building a new terminal on the north side was the most profitable in [terms] of lowering costs for airlines,” he says when asked why New Orleans chose a new terminal over renovations to the existing building.

The airport anticipates a by 20% to 30% reduction in per passenger costs from roughly $8.10 in 2014 when the terminal opens, says Ahmad.

The new facility will have 59,499m2 (640,440ft2) compared to 111,484m2 in the existing terminal. It will also allow New Orleans to consolidate security-screening activities, connect all gates behind security and improve passenger amenities, says Ahmad.

The terminal will be funded with the proceeds of a passenger facility charge (PFC), state funds as well as other sources.

Passengers traffic rose 7.1% to 9.2 million in 2013, airport data shows.