LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC)- After four years of construction, the new passenger terminal at the Lake Charles Regional Airport is finally open.
"This is great! This is what Lake Charles needed. This is absolutely beautiful everybody needs to come out here and see it," said resident Candy Thibodeaux.
Heath Allen, Executive Director of the Lake Charles Regional Airport stated, "I think the building turned out wonderful. I think this is the something the entire community can be very proud of, and that's what I think is really special to us."
The new terminal stands as a symbol of resilience because it is the product of a successful recovery effort after Hurricane Rita.
Hal McMillin, President of the Calcasieu Parish Police Juror said, "Loosing the airport in Hurricane Rita was devastating, but then you see this, we get a building, a tremendous airport like this, it's going to be great for all of Southwest Louisiana, it's something that finally came to fruition."
Ilia Quinones with the Airport Development Office said,"To see it come to life with the people of the community and what it means to them has really been energizing for me, it really makes it worth while."
The new look of the terminal paired with the addition of American Eagle Airlines will draw more traffic through the city, not only benefiting Lake Charles, but Southwest Louisiana as a whole.
"With additional air service like anything else, competition is great for the public and not only that, it gives you more options, you can fly to two of the largest airports in the nation, or in the world for that matter, and you can pretty much get to anywhere in the world with one stop from Lake Charles," said Allen.
"We have one of the best airports anywhere in the nation, and we rank with any city our size. Lake Charles has just got something, and Southwest Louisiana has something to be very proud of."
For Executive Director Heath Allen, the look of the airport, is just as important as it's efficiency, because it's the first thing people see when they fly into Lake Charles, and the last thing they'll see when they fly out.
The Lake Charles Regional Airport will open for out going flights on Sunday.