Louis Armstrong International plays to the growth tune as New Orleans attempts to grow its tech sector

New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport has set passenger growth records for three consecutive years, and 2018 is shaping up to be another strong year as new service additions in 2017 and 2018 continue to fuel increases in passenger throughput.


Summary:

  • New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport has set passenger growth records for three consecutive years;
  • After year-on-year demand growth of +9.1% in 2015, +4.4% in 2016 and +7.8% in 2017, it expects another strong performance in 2018 with traffic up +10.9% YTD;
  • Tourism continues to drive a significant proportion of New Orleans’ economy, but it also has a growing technology sector
  • New Orleans’ convention and visitor’s bureau says  the city posted a +6% increase in direct visitor spending in 2017, with visitors up +5.7% to 17.7 million.

The airport has secured a raft of new services during the past couple of years, including long haul service from British Airways, which operates five weekly flights from London Heathrow. Southwest Airlines, which is New Orleans’ largest operator, is also bolstering its footprint from the airport in 2018 with new flights to Sacramento, San Jose and New York LaGuardia.

Louis Armstrong International Airport reached passenger growth milestones in 2015, 2016 and 2017, with increases in passenger levels of +9.1%, +4.4% and +7.8%, respectively. Between 2010 and 2017, New Orleans posted passenger growth of 35%.

Although tourism continues to drive a significant proportion of New Orleans’ economy, the city is joining other US metropolitan areas to attract technology companies in order to attain a level of economic diversity, and ensure that it garners its share of the economic gains driven by the tech industry.

CHART – Passenger traffic levels at New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport are growing at decade high rates through the first eight months of 2018Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG 

New Orleans’ convention and visitor’s bureau has stated that the city posted a +6% increase in direct visitor spending in 2017, and the number of visitors to the city grew by +5.7% year-on-year, to 17.7 million.

But according to Urban Land, the city has also undergone solid movement in the technology field and foresees opportunities in the medical and research sectors.  The Virginia-based technology firm DXC Technologies has opened a digital transformation centre in New Orleans, which should result in 2,000 direct jobs for the city during the next few years.

CHART – Southwest Airlines is the dominant carrier in the New Orleans market and accounts for more than a third of the weekly seat countSource: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG (data: w/c 24-Sep-2018)

The local publication The New Orleans Advocate, citing research by Louisiana State University, has stated that the DXC Technology project should generate total economic output for Louisiana of USD3.2 billion from 2018 through 2025.

An editorial in the Advocate concluded that Louisiana – unsurprisingly – has offered DXC approximately USD120 million in incentives, or less if the company’s annual payroll grows as expected through 2024.

If New Orleans is successful in building up its tech sector, the airport’s service footprint is certain to expand.