Michelle C. Wilcut
New Orleans Aviation Board

(NEW ORLEANS, LA) - The recently released Bureau of Transportation Statistics for average air fares has the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport as one of the most affordable airports to fly to and from. Among the top 100 U.S. airports, Armstrong International is ranked in the 4th quartile at #79 with an average air fare of $360. The $360 fare consists of domestic round-trip fares, including taxes and fees at the time of purchase. The top five most expensive airports were all above the $500 mark.

This ranking reflects the Airport's success in securing new airlines, including ultra-low cost airlines, which increases competition and lowers air fares. In February 2015, ultra-low cost carrier, Allegiant Air, began nonstop service to Indianapolis, IN (IND); Cincinnati, OH (CVG); Columbus-Rickenbacker (LCK); and Orlando-Sanford, FL (SFB). Allegiant Air offers low base fares and a la carte add-ons such as vacation packages, hotels and attractions. Flights to Orlando-Sanford can be purchased for as low as $45 each way.

Additionally, Spirit Airlines' ultra-low cost service has increased over the last year. Spirit expanded its non-stop offerings to include Dallas, TX (DFW); Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL); Detroit, MI (DTW); Houston, TX (IAH); and Chicago, IL (ORD). Similar to Allegiant, Spirit offers an unbundled product where customers choose the amenities and services they desire. Why drive when flights to Houston Intercontinental can be purchased for as low as $35 each way.

Most recently, the Airport announced two additional airlines that will begin service later this year. Copa Airlines will be providing non-stop to Panama City, Panama connecting New Orleans to the rest of Latin America through Copa's "Hub of the Americas". Branson AirExpress operated by Orange Air will start non-stop to Cancun, Mexico and Branson, Missouri. With these most recent announcements, the Airport has a total of 14 airlines serving a total of 46 nonstop destinations, which are all-time Airport record high for the number of airlines and non-stops.

"Our airport continues to grow and provide more options for air travel for our community and visitors alike," said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "With more direct flight options plus more affordable fares, we have a winning equation for the people of New Orleans."

"We have a great team at the Airport focused on air service development and bringing more opportunities to our community," said Cheryl Teamer, New Orleans Aviation Board Chairwoman. "This ranking further demonstrates the positive impact new service brings."

"Having low fares brings more visitors to our city and is very attractive for future convention sales." New Orleans Councilman Jared Brossett, Chair of the Transportation and Aviation Committee. "We are ecstatic to have one of the most affordable airports in the U.S."

"Since 2010, we have introduced 11 airlines and 21 non-stops. More airlines mean more competition." said Iftikhar Ahmad, Director of Aviation. "An annual basis these fares could save New Orleans' travellers close to a billion dollars this year when we compare to the highest fares."