Nine members have been appointed to the state’s Southeast Regional Airport Authority, which will determine if Louisiana should take over New Orleans’s Louis Armstrong International Airport.
The authority was established by the 2008 Legislature to study the proposed takeover, which the state would finance with an estimated $500 million of revenue bonds.
A takeover also would have to be approved by two-thirds of the City Council and a majority of city voters.
Proponents of the plan said the state would have more financial resources to expand the airport, and the city could use the money to help redevelop downtown areas flooded by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The authority board consists of three members from New Orleans, three from the suburb of Kenner, and three from St. Charles Parish. The airport is owned by New Orleans, but most of it is located in Kenner. Several of the airport’s runways extend into St. Charles Parish.
However, last week airport officials outlined a plan to the council’s aviation committee that would leave the airport owned by the city but operated by a private company. The officials cited Chicago’s recent plan to privatize its Midway Airport through a 99-year lease that will bring in an estimated $2.5 billion.
The New Orleans Airport Board, which oversees Louis Armstrong International, is expected to hire consultants later this month to determine the market value of the airport.