By: Iftikhar Ahmad, Director of Aviation
This is my first public forum and opportunity as the Director of Aviation to greet the residents of the Greater New Orleans Metro area and River Parishes and to say how happy my family and I are, to be a part of this great community. I look forward to getting out in the community as much as possible and meeting many of you face to face.
On May 24th, I took the helm of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport after serving as the Director of the Dayton International Airport since 2006. Utilizing my background in management of small, medium and large commercial airports, as well as general aviation airports, and capital improvements and programming, my objective will be to make Armstrong International Airport even better every day. I want to continue to provide our traveling public with an airport experience they expect and deserve.
Armstrong International Airport will continue to focus on two areas. First, is always safety. Safety is paramount in the airport environment. Working with the Jefferson and St. Charles Parishes’ Sheriff Departments, L&R Security and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the New Orleans Aviation Board will continue to take the steps necessary to ensure a safe environment. Second is Customer Service. As a public entity, I feel it is our job as stewards and employees of the airport to present the best customer service experience you will have in an airport environment. If our passengers are experiencing difficulties, we want to know.
As our exciting $400+ million Capital Improvement Program continues, there may be some inconvenience to the public. Very soon, the renovation of the interior and exterior of the terminal will begin. This means that ticket counters and various services may be relocated either temporarily or permanently. New restrooms are under construction and some existing restrooms are out of service during their re-construction. Signage will direct passengers to the nearest available restrooms. While the airport rehabilitation is underway, the primary tool we are using to quickly inform the public about airport issues is our website. You can access the latest information at www.flymsy.com. I encourage our passengers to always check the website when making travel plans to Armstrong International and to check our new Flight Information Display System to verify the location of your gate for your flight. Gates may not always be the same for recurring flights. The public’s need for a modernized airport is being fulfilled.
A major project in the Capital Improvement Program is the Consolidated Rental Car Facility (CONRAC). On June 24th, we will break ground on this nearly $100 million dollar building. The 1,800 ready return rental car parking spaces with five rental car centers for fueling, cleaning and maintenance, is scheduled for opening in 2012. It will be 100% financed by rental car user fees. The CONRAC is projected to provide over 2600 construction related jobs.
On the air service front, we welcomed back Frontier Airlines last month, for the first time since August 2005. Their service to Kansas City provides a new non-stop destination for our market. This month Frontier will add non-stop service to Denver, giving us a total of three airlines now providing service to Denver. Also last month, AirTran Airways announced a new flight between Milwaukee and New Orleans. Their new nonstop to New Orleans begins October 7, 2010. In closing, let me say I look forward to working with the Aviation Board and staff in its effort to make this airport one that the public can always be proud of.