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Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is celebrating the official opening of its eagerly awaited new $1 billion North Terminal.


The gateway’s new 35-gate terminal, which was seven years in the making in terms of the design and planning work by global architecture firms LEO A DALY and Atkins, will ensure that the US’s fifth fastest growing airport has the capacity to meet rising demand.

According to the design team, the terminal immerses MSY visitors in the culture, geography, and history of the Big Easy.

Its architectural form is said to evoke the soft curves of the Mississippi River while dappled natural light streams into the terminal via skylights is meant to evoke the city’s tree-shaded urban markets.

A jazz garden at the terminal’s three-story central atrium will feature live jazz music, while a massive glass-sealed image taken by a local photographer of live oak trees in morning fog graces the terminal’s main elevator.


Design for the terminal was developed and completed by the Crescent City Aviation Team (CCAT), a joint venture of Atkins and LEO A DALY, who reveal that they worked to maximise convenience for passengers in the terminal.

As a result, a single security checkpoint serves both foreign and domestic flights and adapts to accommodate large tourist crowds during special events such as Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras.

The terminal’s layered, open feeling, with prominent views of the airfield, makes the airport easy for travellers to navigate. 

The facility is also said to offer a unique concessions programme that celebrates the city’s rich culinary, music, and arts heritage.

The need for storm resistance allegedly drove the innovative design.

A spherical roof shape allows long spans while accommodating heavy rainfall. Extensive wind-tunnel modelling and on-site testing resulted in a glass curtain wall able to withstand hurricane-force winds.

The 35-gate terminal includes the six-gate Concourse A, which was added nine months into construction to accommodate increasing demand for domestic and international travel to the city. 


CCAT led the design of the airport terminal, its three concourses, concession programme, two parking garages, aviation radar and electrical facilities, pump station, airside aprons and landside roadway systems.

The terminal design was based on an initial concept by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.

“We are extremely proud to have supported the City of New Orleans in bringing the new North Terminal to reality,” said Justin Jones, intermodal business unit director for Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group.

“This beautiful, state-of-the-art facility will not only provide a modern, spacious place to arrive and depart but also bring a taste of what makes New Orleans unique, including its music, food, and culture.”

While Steven Lichtenberger, AIA, president of LEO A DALY, noted: “The new MSY establishes an iconic new gateway to the city of New Orleans and a passenger experience unlike anything else in the world. We’re truly thrilled to see it contribute to New Orleans’ growth as a domestic and international destination.”


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