LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Lake Charles is now home to the Louisiana Airport of the Year.
Chennault International Airport received the honor from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Executive director, Randy Robb, believes a big reason they won the award was because of their creativity to avoid a temporary shutdown.
"About five years ago, we made the decision that we were going to have to close the runway in the future for about a four-month period to redo it," Robb said.
So the Chennault Airport Authority and the FAA came up with an idea to keep the airport operational.
They decided to widen one of their taxi lanes to 150 feet, making it a fully functional runway.
Robb says the impact on the community would've been felt if they were forced to close for a few months.
"We would've put our tenants out of business, basically. At least for that four-month period. And then with the associated layoffs with personnel, and that's over 1,500 people. We have an 80-million-dollar annual payroll out here. So that's the kind of impact it would've had to the community, and we couldn't afford to do that," said Robb.
That 80-million-dollar payroll is about to get a lot bigger.
"The goal is to relocate Mallard Cove, then we will use the current Mallard Cove property to develop hopefully into a multimodal transportation hub," said Robb.
He believes this will add over one thousand new jobs.