NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – We may not be the biggest, but Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is officially the fastest-growing airport in the country.
Last year, 9.2 million passengers boarded flights at Armstrong, according to Airline Weekly. That’s half a million more than the year before, and 7-percent more than any other U.S. airport.
Analysts point to two major factors piloting the growth:
Southwest, which is adding bigger aircraft with more seats to carry a bigger passenger load, and Spirit Airlines, a relative newcomer to New Orleans that has been steadily adding flights as it grows.
Even visitors are noticing Armstrong airport’s growth, like Steve Greenberg from West Palm Beach, Florida, who comes every spring for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
And you might expect that kind of growth to continue, with a new, bigger terminal planned to come online four years from now, coupled with efforts to bring back big national events, like the Super Bowl in 2018.
Other airports seeing growth
Ranked right behind New Orleans, four other airports in Houston, Austin, San Jose, Calif., and Charlotte, North Carolina saw big growth last year.
But even with this growth spurt, Armstrong International is miles away from the busiest airport, which is in Atlanta, Georgia. They see ten times as many passengers as New Orleans. However, Atlanta’s passenger load shrank slightly last year.