New airport terminal behind original schedule but drawing praise as economic engine

KENNER, LA (WVUE) - It's a few months behind the originally planned schedule, but Jefferson Parish and New Orleans city leaders are pleased with the progress of the new Armstrong International Airport terminal.

The 35-gate, $1 billion project is projected to be complete in February 2019. It will house not only international airlines and businesses, but also local vendors to highlight the region's culture and flare.

"A totally new facility on the opposite side of the airfield doesn't happen every day," said Kevin Dolliole. "It's a very special project. Maybe once every 10 years or so you'll see a significant project of this nature on an airport. It's very special for the community."

Dolliole, with the New Orleans Aviation Board, said the economic impact from new terminal can already be felt, with more than 800 construction workers building the facility. He believes by adding the infrastructure, the region is one of only a few around the country prepared for future economic growth.

"The combination, as our traffic has been growing here, driven by the market along with the new facilities, we are really positioned as a market to gain traffic and will have the infrastructure in place to accommodate the growth and demand," he said.

"This international airport, to us, means that we can grow," said Michelle Ebanks, with the Essence Festival.

Ebanks echoed the feeling of progress. She believes the new terminal will attract businesses to the area, as well as tourists wanting to experience louisiana's culture.

More, more and more," she said. "A bigger festival. More people in the city spending more money in this cultural economy, and then we do it all over again."

Copyright 2018 WVUE. All rights reserved.