MSY landing equipment outage expected until 2022, travelers re-thinking flight plans

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 10:37 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - After fog and an out-of-service piece of landing equipment delayed and canceled dozens of flights out of the Louis Armstrong international airport, some frustrated travelers found their travel time extended.

“We’ve lost a day or half a day of our trip because of the cancellation,” said Robert Matschiner.

“Looks like I am one of those delayed customers,” said Cedric Henry.

Airport officials say a critical construction project on taxiway G put the ILS or instrument landing system offline. Pilot Randy Noel says the ILS helps guide the aircraft while approaching the runway.

“If it’s a pretty day and clear, it’s a backup but in a situation that you can’t see because of the clouds or the fog, you’ve got to have that instrument or you can’t land,” said Noel. The ILS is not expected to be back online until early 2022 when the work is completed. Fog, however, will likely be a recurring issue while the ILS remains out of service. “Cold air moves in, you’ve warm air over the water, you get the fog developing and from now to really early February you can get this,” said Fox 8 meteorologist Bruce Katz.

“The airport experience is important, but also the availability of flights and the number of, you know, nonstop destinations. Those are things that travelers look at,” said New Orleans & Company’s Kelly Schulz.

With tourism starting to make a comeback in New Orleans, Schulz says there are some big events coming up that will bring people in from across the country, including the return of a nonstop international flight from Heathrow.

“We want them to have a positive experience from the time they get here until the time they depart the city so I don’t want to speak for the airport. So I’m not really sure what happened but you know, we’re confident that whatever issues are there, will hopefully get resolved quickly… I think travelers today are pretty flexible. Hopefully or you know, have a good spirit and understand that some things are unavoidable and you know, there’s a lot of pent-up demand for travel in a pandemic,” said Schulz.

Nonetheless, those who frequent MSY say it has them rethinking their travel plans.

“Just knowing what’s going on I’d probably drive or look for other means of transportation,” said Henry.

“I’d like there to be an easier way to travel and comfortably whether that be regular hours prices or a number of other things this is becoming a frustration,” said Robert Matschiner.

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