BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The ribbon cutting for the new terminal over at Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) in Kenner took place Tuesday, Nov. 5.
It featured music, a second line, and more as folks said goodbye to the old MSY terminal.
Construction on the new terminal began back in January of 2016, but the project was plagued with issues. Now it features three concourses, 35 gates, 8,000 parking spots, and will be a crucial economic driver for the New Orleans area.
So how does the Baton Rouge Airport (BTR) stack up against this huge new upgrade in NOLA?
"If anything, I think the ease of getting through BTR is going to be more pronounced in the future," said Jim Caldwell, with BTR airport.
BTR is the second largest airport in Louisiana by passenger volume, and its economic impact is more than $1.1 billion annually.
According to the Jim Caldwell, BTR’s marketing director, in 2018, more than 800,000 people flew in and out of BTR.
He's expecting that number to grow when looking at the stats for 2019.
“Terminal front parking, fast security clearance, and our most frequent travelers, that’s what they [passengers] like about us, they can get anywhere in the world,” said Caldwell.
And with American, Delta, and United, a single connection flight can really get you anywhere.
Betty Blackman of Denham Springs says a trip to New Orleans isn’t worth it for her.
"By the time you drive to New Orleans, you're looking at an hour, and then your gasoline. And if you take a car, you've got to leave the car, and then come back in a week, and pay the parking fees and all of that, and it's just too much," said Blackman.
Caldwell says about 60% to 65% of BTR’s passengers are mostly business travelers. However, Matthew Buckley is from Baton Rouge, but now works in Japan.
“It’s easy for my family to come and pick me up from this airport than New Orleans and to have to drive at least an hour and a half to the airport there,” said Buckley.
Caldwell says BTR is not necessarily a huge destination airport for tourism, but he just wants customers to give them a chance.
“We know we’re not going to get all the bookings all the time, but if they can check us, compare, consider the time savings and the ease of accessing BTR and getting through security, and when you’re home your’re home, and you don’t have a long drive, that’s the thing that can make a difference,” said Caldwell.
The more people that take flights out of BTR airport, the more services and destinations the airport can offer in the future.
WAFB’s Liz Koh will be live from the new MSY terminal in Kenner to give you a tour on Wednesday, Nov. 6 on 9News This Morning.