Pilots flying into or out of the New Orleans area this week likely diverted elsewhere to avoid Hurricane Isaac, which by this morning had been downgraded to a tropical storm. As of this morning, Lakefront Airport (NEW) remained closed, while Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) is expected to reopen tomorrow, according to a notam. The National Hurricane Center in Miami reports that the storm is expected to continue to weaken as it moves inland over the next 24 hours.
Addie Fanguy, general manager of the Landmark FBO at NEW, told Flying on Wednesday that his operation began preparing for the storm earlier this week. “This is the first time that we’re experiencing a hurricane after they’ve redesigned the levees,” he said, noting that Lakefront is bordered on three sides by water.
“There was a warning from management that the fuel farm would flood, so we’ve moved the trucks about 100 yards from the FBO to a small bridge,” said Brayton Matthews, manager of Flightline First at NEW. “This is a much smaller storm than Katrina. But everybody is still a little skittish.”
Steve Knapper, chief pilot with Gulf Coast Aviation, said today that the company was able to get its three Cessna 172s and one Skycatcher out before the storm hit, but that a Piper Lance remains in the hangar. “The most promising thing that I’ve heard this morning is that there’s a grocery store about a mile from the airport that’s open with power. So I feel very positive that the airport will open back up again.”