WWL>Topics>>2-5-14 3:10pm Angela: on the airport upgrades

2-5-14 3:10pm Angela: on the airport upgrades

Feb 5, 2014|

Angela talks about the changes coming to Louis Armstrong International Airport with director of aviation Iftikhar Ahmad.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

I had truly love this today I. Think our first hour was very important moment talking about what's happening on two people over the age of 65. Who are getting. Really higher and higher rates of STD's. Again we'll have that conversation more. I love jail garner. Miss manners she's more than -- man she's helping young people she's helping businesses. On something that is very very important in our society that we let drift away and she's pulling it all back in. And I also love this hour because this is a man I have wanted to meet. For a very long time and we have tried for effort to get him on this program I'm delighted that he is here. He's been in charge of the New Orleans international airport for less than four years. But by the opinions of money he has changed its course. If the car arm and took the reins of -- sent in 2010. It was still coming back post-Katrina. Have been criticized on how it was run financially. And frankly. Looks sad and Graham. In a relatively short period of time. It has corrected its financial controls. Saving millions of dollars has had a complete physical make over. And updating restaurants and stores. And most importantly. Is bringing in more flights. And we haven't even mentioned the enormous announcement a couple of weeks ago. But within the next four years we should have a new state of the art terminal with two concourses. This is considered the most -- from transformational. Project for New Orleans since the super down. Is to car Aamodt has been the man in charge of at all. And he is our guest today and I mean I am so delighted and I said when he walked in this is the busiest man in Moreland and that is correct. A thank you very much I'm I'm glad to be here and and to -- talked to all folks about. What the report is up to. Airports before we get to the really exciting things. I just want it and it came from Dayton Ohio he has on this I mean it -- great. Credentials for what you do -- a site in Houston and opponents in the ninety's. I -- according there. Three billion dollar capital program when nine left from there. And then I was -- vice president. National park and then Dayton and then -- and so. You came here with eyes wide open yes did you understand the challenges to the degree that they war. Is a very small industries movies we don't have secrets. And so I kinda says the that the talons that meant that we would have to face him. And but I was also the reason for coming and because you're like challenges. I think that you know. Jobs that are. About -- virtualization. And living life for the purpose and to -- Simpson behind. Better than you found it and -- the best atlas and I would like to leave my two sons who by the way -- -- time speaking. Today for being on a general important. It's a horrible congratulations. That's so well congratulations on the radio that in a newspaper and radio. You should be very proud thank you that's an accomplishment -- things -- things obviously like where you'll absolutely. Love the city love the people. And and just wanna do right by them. So you walked in financially there were issues yes and from everything I have read and understood all of a sudden we are. With fixed those issues yes and in fixing them saving money yes yes and it. The eagle is symbolic. Airports by design in the united cities. By federal law are self contained business units. And they have to produce their oil revenues. And and and be self sufficient. We do not taken me and use of city taxes. And then you know and and none of the airport monies. Can the transfer to any other municipalities. All even the owners switches so -- you Norman's. And so. When you look at that business model then the pin as a as a in -- isolated human. You have to run the businesses territory that it does what is supposed to do and -- mission in any community. He used to create. You know actress prosperity to create if -- development. And how we do that is by connecting the airport with the rest of the world. Internationally and domestically in such a way that is meaningful. And that we we accomplished two things one that we get more passengers coming to that city salt hotels are hopeful that our restaurant as a full. That some of the need for services has created that would create jobs and when jobs are created money changes hand and quality apply of course. That only one hand his own mission. And part B of that mission is that. To make the airport. Flushed where -- with connectivity. So the next fortune 500 company that is looking for the you can location. That they would consider this tape player in that market. And so I'll give you an example. In 2008 I've played. And CR a fortune 500 company. Was going to leave Dayton. Andy says that the reason that -- leaving is because the airport is not connected enough. They didn't have enough flights. And and so they took their thousands of jobs with them. And they went to Atlanta and there's reason to Google it. Where is that Atlanta is. -- the airport was what did what did -- -- -- to do for -- him. Chiquita about two years ago left Cincinnati when you Google that the reasons or. That Cincinnati wasn't -- -- -- the report said the lift because of the report and the -- Charlie because of the their food -- -- -- -- So what we're trying to do is place ourselves. In -- and who you trust commission process. Please ourselves. So next time when somebody's looking at a city. And that policy it is one of the top cities that they look at. And the airport is the poll yes. -- I have to say and I have been a critic of the airport because I've used it a lot in the last almost forty years. And but it looks beautiful -- to get looks beautiful it is a pleasure to walk through. The ladies rooms and even a friend of mine called me to sit Angela they've got flowers in the latest threat to. That just didn't happen. Before. Yes we have a happy place and receive 25 million dollars doing it. And I think that it is. We had some issues. When -- when the contract the board and the man wanted on of that. Looked at and we did that and we we put those -- out in an open manner. And some of those lower revenue generating contracts some of them -- cost producing contract plays and the cleaning or or. Maintenance of the bag belts. And so we -- fees -- costs increase our revenues and there was basically about a 25 million dollar cap that we created. But fundamentally from day one we knew then you'll lose your report and one fundamental issues in Dallas. That it was costing. And -- set to -- even much more in coming years. That the airlines. For the airlines per passenger. And that we thought that I would be detrimental to all business here and took the connectivity that would produce for the city. In 2010 we were about to about ten dollars and some cents -- passengers who was so posts ago. 216 dollars and 34 cents and these dollar figures on -- passengers. Twenty airline cost that is getting transferred from the airport in New Orleans to the airlines. Now it's much more than the average cost that the airlines the airports were transferred and -- to the airlines and that was just not gonna -- caught four. He is low cost carriers like say -- So we -- added can we say we need to cut these costs we need to feed deficiencies in our operations. And so we did and to -- that same cause it is eight dollars and thirty cents a sort of sixteen dollars and 34 cents. And into the USA law. Why is that such a big deal it's only eight dollars that we're talking about anywhere you were costs 350 to 450. Was 500 dollars. And why does he dollar matter than I was say in response is that. The -- margins in the airline business our soul then. That possible a lot of them or making money spent just say you're too old -- side American Airlines go bankrupt. But assault Swiss airline in 2012 when you look at the SEC filings. They -- me Damien about -- dollar and 71 cents on of that 400 girls. One dollar 71 cents per passenger and that's what they meant. So win or lose tries to cut their costs down but in dollars pound they put him in green and now you saw. Last winner southwest airline announced. I mean and Nazis in loans. We're gonna continue this conversation with again if taught and tested again is to car a mind. Who is the change ancient for our grand and wonderful. And expanding. Airports stay with its. If a car I'll mind the general manager of our airport. Really enlightening us about. What has happened and exciting things have happened. First of all getting our house in order which it needed to -- end up doing it beautifully and then other things falling into place. We're gonna go back to some of those issues but I'd like to talk about what everyone is talking about and that is the wonderful announcement. That it's for real. We're going to have a new terminal that will have to. Wouldn't concourses to concourses I'm -- so a new terminal were not getting rid of the old terminal. Which looks very pretty -- and we're just getting a new. We are building the new -- -- all on the north side. And two -- -- to hear -- should have been on the north side to begin where. The commercial business should be weirder than on the side of the airport where I attendance so there is a short. Distance to come on and off all by ten to -- -- to the terminal at port terminal. The saw signed. We ABA's mothballed and has been -- ball full for a while now. The and can he be in that half of the trauma as buck 55 years old. The Pacific is going to provide forty years old concourse. And we need that's peace -- general aviation group. And we -- going to demolish that fifty it'll that ticketing body food and demolish that too. What we will key is in new concourse resist Ron Christie -- gonna use it for charter flights in and housing. FA AT is saying in aviation staff there. The we're going to continue to use the garage is that there. As long term Rogers. And there will be no cost less because. You're gonna have to -- that he and the pennant drive. From. Most side to this soft side. And so we -- that. Basically. -- car went on to use that facility news -- Steve is going to harm the -- -- we're gonna keep. Concourse C. When going to do and out of the closest to when we're about to leave it and see -- that is interest by private. Companies all public private partnership. To do. Another activity in it and and basically produce non airline revenues forest. Which we continues to -- costs and airlines. All do other things with -- that would be in that's public interest. So that is there is a whole lot of what -- is on the south side group will continue to be there and then we're going to use. Where we cleared up some some payment on MB. And some of that terminal that is on the outside -- want to build general aviation. Hangers and -- That is to make room on that part of our business. The new terminal. Will not be as big as the one we have now look. Yes absolutely. The clearances in the existing. Taking property is a vote. Thirty somewhat -- Say concourse deal concourse saying there about 1215 through the clearance between. The floor and the ceiling. The new terminal. In the and it -- Javier whoever checked more and and all of that is going to news. Some are on fifteen feet and it's. Very open architecture. A lot of glass you can see how to a lot of greens you'll be -- -- inside in the -- news outside. And then the concourses. The separation that is about 35 feet. So you'll see the concourses the throne and -- open architecture. High ceilings and we're going to -- Concessions in the middle of the concourses. And instead of what the other airports to where they put him on the side of the concourses. So the view is not obscured. As you walking through with the concourses you should be able to see how it. And not added and a concession who put the restrooms in the middle to. And and the mayor said. To make sure that that a strong. You know facilities. Specially for woman at least three times what we need. Salute -- -- did note that the public but you know very very important closer and larger sense. And or. Will there be more -- We have we're gonna have thirty gates and this concrete this tunnel can be here expanded to 42 gates. Right now today. It's about right size right sizing to. In that is the reason why we should right size. We have right sizing because there are 22 movies that at least today. And the new terminal is going to have thirty used to do some room. That we have -- four poignant team. Basically we have full 14185. Days left to substantially compute this building. That's a lot of time working and -- keep thinking that is that is a short time to to pull all of this. We -- about 25% in two design right now the consultants or. -- Republican on the design as we speak. And teams nine carries and an old steel all of that war. And we're about to put a solicitation -- 48 CM and treat the risk which is construction construction manager interest. That is -- methodology. That wears a contractor comes in. And -- -- -- in Kansas has GNP guaranteed maximum price and then he takes this if price coastal. And that is that is a good methodology used to have very motivate -- a to make sure that this is delivered on time and on budget. But the new concourse in the new terminal is going to be as when you go through a few policy that is. This very functional. And that is there are some things then we could talk about what would be different. As you and is from the existing terminal to the new terminal that folks with experience. And that's a perfect way to take a quick break we're running out of the newsroom but we wanna hear about those differences. Right after this let's go to the newsroom. If the car Ahmad is our special guest is the general manager of our airports it is a new day at our airport and has been. Almost since his arrival and what we're seeing now is such an improvement but what the future holds and as -- 14185. Days. Is going to be in new terminal and were talking about the experience someone will have. As a person going into the terminal to catch a flight much less those coming off a flight so let's go back to that. When you are coming in. Was going to be different is that instead of fun going to the south side which is a longer drive. And specially if you coming from Baton Rouge you do not have what we call -- You have to get off long low blow or Williams then you got to stop at defense. Signals and then. Basically -- ways. And twos that existing terminal. What we are doing we're with this new design is that -- going to be an interchange. -- -- exit. So you get on a flyover. You come straight into the airport from bulletin loans and Andrews. And so that's going to be different shorter route. Not a lot of stopping you go straight into the terminal and then. When you are at the airport. In the arrivals and departures all -- different side now. All the tunnel which makes it very easy in terms of where you're finding. And there is no confusion. With respect to lose that. That is also different and then when you come inside. The ticketing lobby campaign in normal. In regular US airport is that there is -- sometimes that is half a mile or mile long. Street line where all these -- co owners not to use either have to go to Leo fright or children left to grow our wrong. The block off ticket counters. NL rookies you'll be able to go through them. -- -- too is check point not to date the checkpoints that concourse -- in the countdown on checkpoints. The problem that is and they went conventions come -- And say the the penetration of some some of physicians and conventions there and they -- 25000 of them. And god forbid southwest airline had airfare sale. And that we. 25000. People show up at conference -- concourse me. And -- not four lanes and so we have backup to now to. That is some time. All the way to -- -- In this new truth terminal that is going to be. About seventeen names that are going to be right after you looked through ballistic -- congress to get there. And India Tony 5000 folks who really rule on all lanes and we will try to process them through to this day as soon as we canned. And then you when you go to the other side. That is the open species that is live music staged. And and of course you know you in the -- is because you're playing jazz and one's great music. And we have these concessions. That are they give you a sense of place moons is for famous forest cruising around the world. And we need to be selling that sort of food so people can. Can -- experienced -- -- has to offer because a lot of folks when they come in. Confront some of the folks who witnessed in that east to his bones in the west towards -- group which. And so will give them a flavor of Norman's before those 35%. Of people go west. And when you go through it concessions on in the middle of the concourses. And we -- going to have big box office tunes and and is where people could congregate. Four concessions. And food court is that right after. -- checkpoint. And if you gonna have modern design lot of glass not a flight coming in but what they would also do for arms. Is that. We have in new building all maintenance costs will go down. He would be more efficient building for example. -- 99% of the folks don't know that right under concourse C that is all one of the longest concourses Mika. There is another concourse under it. And it is never used we needed and we crew -- we use it for our international fights. Which we pick up we picked up who were rhetorical and Russo who picked up she the last three used her on to Cancun in Jamaica. And so we process those passages in the evidence too large for four -- that sort of operations so. What you'll see is that we're our heating costs and cooling costs won't can be cut into half. Our cleaning house will be -- to have -- maintenance costs. Will be significantly less because it'll be a new building talk costs will go down but the concessions. Huff post nine elevenths. People liked to buy after. Pre 9/11 and grandpa would come with with the grip for the event is they would go to the deviant and they would eat right next that you hear. Now the candle -- escort them all the way to negated so people buying food after. Checkpoint. And so. More -- the concessions are going to be post security. And so we're gonna have the right type of communities in the right place and -- -- revenues will go out and again that would do with the business strategy. Then it is essential that we have to cut costs for the your lines get more and activity internationally and domestically for people. And that is the bottom line -- it's going to be a beautiful experience but. People want more -- yes and so keeping costs down we will get more -- yes and -- other other places we were talking in the commercial. Cleveland is losing its top yes others have a lot Memphis -- is is getting downgraded Cincinnati is getting downgraded. And all of these cities. Are seen DP supplies there was an article about 89 months ago. And Wall Street Journal and it was called shrinking skies. And in you can -- relent and they had the could be a lot of these and compare the airports put on any exhibit pro but forty of them. And all of those imports the issue -- -- we're all in red Andy showed they said that 26%. Of their flights on. And about 21% of their seats were gone from India should did there was one airport in the wasn't about us but there was one Newport that was going the other way. It was New Orleans airport. What a beautiful thing I think you're right -- stay with us everyone we're not finished I'm Angela on WW well. We're talking about all the wonderful things happening in our New Orleans international airport. With the man who is help with those changes in the next 14185. Days and to be painful form but it's going to be worth it to. Were also talking about what's happening in in the world of airlines and we watch the consolidations we've seen. Many changes all the fees that have been added I'm talking as a passenger. And it's not pleasant right and and that has nothing to do with what you do it. But you have great sensitivity to it because you see all of us wandering around the airport. Just sort of bottom line your thoughts on is it ever gonna go back to. Gee this is a wonderful way to travel. Well I think. That. Post 9/11. There was a big shock to our industry. Pre Katrina the oil prices which is part of their fixed costs. Was 34 dollar ago. Now it is right now it's about ninety but we did -- -- hundred -- about an hour and fifty. And then the economic downturn came. And all of these things and hitting the airlines when it hurts. Which is of revenues and so you saw a lot of them not make any money. And then produce the senate looking for mergers. To save their companies. And non -- Simon you know last year American. Martyrs to with the with the US there. And so. I think that it's a bit I think the deed that night at the in this town is that Michael. The market would always self correct itself. And I am I -- that that's gonna happen sooner than later. Because suddenly. We need more folks come in to leisure market like wounds host city is. Alive and well with a lot of folks that come and visit this great city. If the car -- has made a difference. Thank you very very much we look forward to the future. And I appreciate your time today will be right back. We are talking with a man who has changed airport in your final thoughts well I I wanna -- that none of this would have to happen. Without the leadership of -- Andrew. And all the wonderful board. He appointed the first woman. That your -- and at the aviation -- And I must say you know you can cool website to look at it. The everybody has a tremendous marketability. Of the the rules for doing this right is what you're saying and I thank you sir.