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Armstrong recovery continues with more people jetting out every day

Staff Report
February 14, 2007 at 2:22 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The Louis Armstrong International Airport served 6,217,023 passengers in 2006. That’s 80% of the passengers who used the airport in 2005 and 64% of the all time high of 9,733,179 passengers in 2004.

"While the passenger numbers are down from years past, Armstrong International Airport has shown tremendous growth as the region continues to recover from Hurricane Katrina,” says Sean Hunter, interim director of aviation.

“The gap is narrowing each month as we proceed along this path of recovery. Air service continues to grow month over month.”

December’s passengers totaled 578,185 or 75.8% of the 763,162 passengers that used the airport in December 2004.

That’s an increase of 64% from December 2005 immediately following Hurricane Katrina.

Mail and freight handled at Armstrong was down as well with 101,464,721 pounds of freight and mail being handled in 2006, 56.9% of 2004 levels, the last year of full operations prior to Hurricane Katrina.

Air carrier flight operations for the year is at 60% as the tourism market continues to recover. There were a total of 72,164 commercial flight operations in 2006, compared to 120,283 in 2004.

Southwest Airlines remains the volume leader in New Orleans with 24.2% of the market, down from 31% in 2004.

Free money for your home improvements

Tax incentives for building energy efficiency into new or renovated homes can help you pay for the work up to $6,500, according to Audrey Evans, an energy efficiency expert with the LSU AgCenter.

"We want to help people do more than restore," she said of the rebuilding efforts throughout South Louisiana after the 2005 hurricanes. "We want to help them build back better" - and tax credits can help.Evans said people who are rebuilding damaged homes should consider energy-efficient building materials and methods because they:

- Make for a more comfortable home.

- Are good for the environment.

- Qualify you for federal tax credits up to $6,500 to help offset the costs of your renovations and improvements.

Business grants are still up for grabs

Small business owners continue to apply for grants and loans under the Louisiana Business Recovery Grant & Loan Program and you have until 5 p.m. on Feb. 16 to turn in an application for your share of the pie

"The program is operating smoothly with a steady but manageable volume of business inquiries and applications,” said Louisiana Economic Development Business Assistance Director Michael Hecht.

“We urge businesses who are still interested to review the eligibility requirements."

Applicants are urged to call the toll free helpline, 1-877-217-1777, or visit prior to an application appointment to ensure they are fully prepared.

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