LC Airport fights for new terminal

September 7, 2006
Reported by Pam Dixon

This is where people used to come and go to catch flights out of the Lake Charles Regional Airport. The terminal was so badly damaged during Hurricane Rita, it's been out of use ever since. Just across the parking lot is the make shift temporary terminal where air passengers wait, often outside. Allen says, "Anything that we do is going to be a new building whether we renovate or come from the ground up. It's essentially going to be a new building one way or another."

The FAA is willing to pay 14 and a half million dollars to repair the old terminal, rather than pay 23 million dollars to build a new one. But because the damaged one is outdated, too small, and doesn't meet new standards, the airport's Deputy Director Heath Allen says they are considering other options to come up with the rest of the money for a new terminal. Allen says, "There are a number of possibilities everything from fema obviously. We've got insurance proceeds. We're now looking at the louisiana recovery authority as well and department of economic development in the state of louisiana."

Allen says the FAA has left the door open for some additional funding, if airport officials can justify the need. So they plan to present some more information to the agency within the week, information they hope will change the FAA's mind.

In addition to looking for other sources of funding, airport officials say bringing a second airline to the Southwest Louisiana market might help change the FAA's mind. Allen says the Lake Charles Regional Airport will only get about two million dollars from its insurance claim.