Armstrong Airport busier than ever in 2013

The number of passengers traveling through Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport increased in 2013 for the fourth year in a row, with more than 9.2 million passengers using the airport, officials said in a news release Wednesday.

The number of passengers represents a 7.1 percent increase from 2012 and an 18 percent increase since 2009, according to the airport.

“This is further proof of the growing demand for service in the New Orleans region as we continue to build a world-class airport,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement. “We will continue to work with the New Orleans Aviation Board, regional leaders and industry stakeholders to keep the momentum going.”

Southwest Airlines carried the most traffic to and from New Orleans, with its passengers making up a third of the total.

Of the 42 nonstop destinations from the airport, all but 10 saw an increase in capacity in 2013, according to the release.

“We are committed to maintaining the service we presently have and to adding new carriers and destinations when the opportunity avails itself,” Aviation Board Chairwoman Cheryl Teamer said.

New service already announced for next year includes nonstop flights to Seattle and charter flights to Jamaica.

The airport is also working toward the construction of a new, more efficient terminal. The overall project also includes a new fly-over ramp from Interstate 10, a hotel and other features. The total cost of the project is estimated at $826 million.

The new terminal is scheduled to be completed by 2018 to coincide with New Orleans’ 300th anniversary.