With construction milestones being set on a regular basis, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport’s eagerly awaited new North Terminal is now 60% complete and on target for a February 2019 opening.
Conceived as a major economic driver for post-Katrina New Orleans, the new North Terminal has been called “the most transformative project for New Orleans since the Superdome” by Mayor, Mitch Landrieu.
The approximately 800,000sqft terminal will replace the airport’s outdated, operationally inefficient terminal with a modern, 35-gate international complex with a projected economic impact of $6.4 billion in local spending.
Being built on the north side of the airport site, the new terminal will boast nearly 80,000sqft of concessions space providing plenty of shopping and dining opportunities for passengers and much needed revenue for the Louisiana gateway.
Indeed, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) believes that the retail/F&B outlets with café like spaces at the heart of each concourse will be integral to ensuring that the ‘spirit of the New Orleans’ is represented throughout the terminal through “sights, sounds and smells that reverberate all the best in our city”.
Other facilities designed to enhance the passenger experience include a consolidated checkpoint offering greater ease and efficiency for passengers going through security and an inline baggage system where passengers will just drop off their checked baggage at the ticket counters.
LEO A DALY worked with joint venture partner Atkins, design consultants Pelli Clarke Pelli and local firms Manning Architects and Hewitt-Washington & Associates to design an iconic terminal for the city of New Orleans.
According to the design team, the new terminal’s architectural form evokes the geography of the Delta region and the soft curves of the Mississippi with a symmetrical plan formed from gentle arcs on three sides.
“A monumental roof rises toward the building’s centreline, where it crests over a large central skylight,” says LEO A DALY.
“The terminal facades are primarily glass, with trellis-like shading used to evoke New Orleans’ distinctive architecture, while providing an optimal balance of daylight and thermal comfort.”
The need for resiliency drove many technical innovations in executing the city’s first major public project since Katrina.
For example, marshy soil two feet below sea level required 4,000 piles to be driven into bedrock, essentially creating an airport on stilts. The spherical roof shape was designed to allow long spans while accommodating heavy rainfall. While extensive wind-tunnel modelling and on-site trials were conducted to test the blast-resistant curtain walls’ ability to withstand category-4 hurricane winds.
In addition to the new terminal, the $1 billion capital development programme includes the construction of a new storm water pump station, new airport road system and the relocation of airfield lighting and navigational aids.
Other new facilities added in the development programme, but funded by third parties, include an aircraft fuel hydrant system and a new flyover interchange providing improved road access from the I-10.
“The new airport terminal will be truly transformative for New Orleans and the Gulf South region,” enthuses MSY’s aviation director Kevin Dolliole.
“Armstrong International is the gateway to the region, and the new facility will deliver a better arrival and departure experience than our current terminal.
“The design is much more conducive to air travel with modern passenger amenities like an inline baggage system that will allow for more efficient processing and a consolidated checkpoint that will allow passengers to travel freely between concourses after going through security.
“In addition to opening a new facility, this project also offers us the opportunity to redevelop the current facility on the south side of the airport’s property.
“We are now conducting a study to determine the best use of the developable land, and we are engaging regional stakeholders in conversations about their plans, so our decisions are well informed.”
MSY enjoyed a seventh successive year of traffic growth in 2017 when a record 12million passengers (+7.8%) passed through its facilities – 46% more than back in 2010.