Revitalization in the Bayou

NEW ORLEANS — A major medium air passenger transport hub, Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) is responsible for three-quarters of all passengers in the state of Louisiana. Newly appointed director of aviation Iftikhar Ahmad (assumed role...

“Much like in Hawaii where you are handed a lei upon arrival, we want to give everyone coming in to New Orleans at the airport Mardi Gras beads upon arrival; we are looking for sponsors for that.”

Funding for the improvements comes from PFCs, AIP, and CFC (car facitly charge), says Ahmad. In terms of the construction market, he relates that it’s a good time to build.

Cutting costs; enhancing revenue
Comments Ahmad, “Right now I have a $1.3 million cost to bring people from the employee parking lot to the front of the terminal. Now that I have abandoned one of our concourses, I can now put those employees at the abandoned area closer to the terminal and save that expense.

“I can also do some things with our parking that will create some increased revenue.

“A concession consolidation could also give me a few million dollars … these are the types of things that we can do to increase our revenues and decrease our costs.”

Ahmad says he wants to get away from relying so heavily on airline revenues, and start exploring non-aeronautical resources. “We need to cut costs for enplanements to grow; I want to get ahead in terms of enplanements, and I want the airlines to be happy doing business in New Orleans,” he adds.

With a background in civil engineering, Ahmad says his view on airport operations and airport business is different because of how he was introduced to management — by having to build structures around operations, and learning operations as he went. “My perspective on airport management is unique for that reason,” he says. “It’s much different when you come from just the operations side; when I look out there, I don’t even see aircraft — all I see is revenue, expenses, and passengers.”


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