[PHOTOS] New Orleans Unveils $1B Terminal With Local Flair and Fanfare


Ribbon cutting ceremony at new MSY terminal
Ribbon cutting ceremony at new MSY terminal. Image: Jenny Peters

MSY’s new terminal features several stages for live music performances – a nod to the airport’s namesake.

In classic New Orleans style, the city (and its Kenner, Louisiana, suburb) said goodbye to the old Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) terminal and hello to the new with second-line musical parades. Dignitaries from both cities and the state joined for a ribbon cutting of the new $1-billion facility.

The new terminal, which supports 16 airlines, uses the same runways as the old airport. It features open-concept architecture, with an atrium that extends across all three levels of the main area. A common-use ticketing system and a consolidated TSA checkpoint are employed to improve passenger flow. And concourse amenities include three mothers’ rooms, 11 water-bottle filling stations and a post-security pet-relief area.

The restaurant and bar offerings have also stepped up in design and taste, including restaurants from James Beard award-winning or recognized chefs. The airport is also inaugurating a gate pass program for non-travelers, allowing them to go through security to share a meal with traveling friends – or just to visit on their own.

The terminal will eventually have three luxury lounges for frequent fliers, with the Delta Sky Lounge opening on Concourse C at the same time as the terminal. United Airlines will open a lounge on Concourse C in 2020; and the Club MSY will open later on Concourse A, to serve international travelers who qualify for admission.

Music will be an integral part of the new MSY terminal, as there are stages throughout the facility.  “At the jazz garden area, we’ll have an inviting atmosphere from which live music and entertainment will be heard throughout the entire atrium,” Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards said. In addition to the main music area, there are three other live music stages, including the Concourse B Heritage School of Music Stage and the Where Traveler News + Gift shop, which boasts a small stage.

“Over five million visitors passed through our airports last year and the biggest player in that is [MSY], with over 4.1 million passengers. That’s 82 percent of all air travelers to Louisiana,” Bel Edwards said. “That means [MSY] is the very first impression they get of the great state of Louisiana, and with this new facility, they are going to feel right at home.”