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New Orleans airport reopens after 16 days

Sept. 13, 2005 at 7:45 AM

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Two flights between Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Memphis, were scheduled Tuesday, the first since Hurricane Katrina struck.

Northwest Airlines will run the two round-trips, although the New Orleans Times Picayune said it wasn't known how many passengers were booked on them.

Aviation Director Roy Williams said before Hurricane Katrina's winds, rain and flooding hit Aug. 29, the airport averaged 350 flights daily. He said he expected to see the number rise to 60 by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, all passenger flights will leave out of Concourses A and B. Concourse D is still being used as an evacuation and medical facility, although it had only one patient Monday. The airport evacuated 23,000 people, including 13,000 in one day, said Mike McCormick, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Williams said he doesn't expect normal traffic for 18 months, largely because the city's national convention business has been shut down.

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