Week in Review, April 5-9: Airlines Announce Service to MSY
NEW ORLEANS – This week, two new airlines announced service to and from Armstrong International Airport.
First, Independent regional airline Silver Airways announced it will offer nonstop, twice-weekly flights from New Orleans to Jacksonville, Fla. The new route will also provide connections to Silver’s network throughout Florida, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and other destinations. “We continue to work to provide more opportunities to connect New Orleans to the rest of the country and vice versa,” said Kevin Dolliole, director of aviation for the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. “This is just the beginning of what we hope will be a great partnership.”
Meanwhile, San Francisco-based commuter airline Boutique Air announced it will begin flight operations between the Greenville Mid-Delta Regional Airport in Greenville, Miss. and Armstrong Airport. Boutique will offer one daily round-trip on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. “We believe this is the right route at the right time for our citizens in the Mississippi Delta,” said Greenville Mayor Erick Simmons. Founded in 2007 by early Google alum Shawn Simpson, Boutique operates a fleet of Pilatus PC-12 aircraft and aims to provide service to rural communities.
Unfortunately, the news regarding new passenger rail service to New Orleans wasn’t as good.
This week, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she will oppose an Amtrak plan to resume passenger train service between New Orleans and Mobile without a study of its potential impact.
While Amtrak asked federal regulators last month to force CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway to let passenger trains run on its track linking the two Gulf Coast cities, Ivey wrote the Surface Transportation Board saying Amtrak should be required to complete a study on the potential impact on freight traffic, WPMI-TV reported. The northern Gulf Coast has been without passenger service since Hurricane Katrina badly damaged tracks and equipment in 2005. While Louisiana and Mississippi have supported a resumption, Ivey wrote that Alabama has withheld funding for new service for several years over concern that Amtrak trains would interfere with freight service at the Port of Mobile.
Expansion at Port
A cold storage facility said it will spend $42 million to expand its New Orleans East operations and create 50 new direct jobs. One of two major Lineage Logistics facilities at the Port of New Orleans, the cold-storage complex at Jourdan Road along the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal will grow from 160,000 square feet to 304,000 square feet, said company president and CEO Greg Lehmkuhl. The company will retain 188 existing Louisiana jobs with the new project, while creating an estimated 50 new direct maritime and warehousing jobs with an expected average annual pay of $61,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 56 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 100 new permanent jobs in the region. “The value-added exports of Lineage Logistics will continue to strengthen Louisiana’s $1.6 billion poultry industry, including nearly 300 commercial broiler producers throughout 11 parishes,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Countdown to Final Four
The city will host the NCAA Men’s Final Four for the sixth time in April 2022 in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. This week, the New Orleans Local Organizing Committee – led by Tulane University, the University of New Orleans and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation – officially started the one-year countdown to the event with panel discussions featuring Gov. John Bel Edwards, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and other special guests. The Governor and Mayor helped introduce organizing committee co-chairs David Sherman and Paul Valteau.
“Next year will be the first time we’ll be back to normal, except it’ll be better than normal,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. “New Orleans is an easy sell; that’s why these national events like to come to New Orleans. When we get 75,000 or so visitors, it makes a tremendous difference for our city and state.”