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Posted: Friday, 12 July 2013 7:25AM

New Orleans' Armstrong International flies in the face of airport trends

The air travel industry has suffered declines across the country in the past few years, But New Orleans is bucking that trend.

Louis Armstrong International is the only one of 35 similar sized airports that's not seen a drop-off in traffic the past five years.

"New Orleans is the one shining star among that with a 4.5 percent increase in the number of flights and a 9.5 percent increase in the number of seats," says spokeswoman Michelle Wilcut.

That's according to data published by the MIT International Center for Air Transportation and the Wall Street Journal.

The report looked at mid-sized, medium-hub airports across the country and found they had lost 26 percent of their flights and 21 percent of their passengers between 2007 and 2012.

"They all declined, and we've managed to continue to grow and, basically, have the level of service that we had prior to Katrina," Wilcut says.

In fact, Armstrong International is now ranked as the 38th busiest airport in the nation.

"And that's actually the highest that New Orleans has ever been ranked," says Wilcut. "Prior to Katrina, we were ranked #40, and then we dropped down to #56."

More than 5.4 million passengers departed Louis Armstrong International in 2012.

And, the growth has continued to be very positive over the past year.

"We've had increased air service, we've had new airlines come in, we've had all of our carriers increase their capacity and add flights."

"I think it says something to the growth of New Orleans and the strength of New Orleans and its resilience," Wilcut says. "And, people wanting to be here and be a part of this community."

The airport, itself, is preparing to become a larger part of the community, with an $826 million project to build an entirely new terminal.

And, new departures are in the offing...with business leaders, airport and city officials discussing ways to launch direct flights to London and Paris from New Orleans.

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Locations : LondonNew OrleansParis
People : Michelle Wilcut
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