LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Lake Charles Regional airport could soon see an increase in traffic thanks to a federal grant awarded Tuesday.
The $1 million grant will go towards funding two loading bridges.
“When the airport was originally constructed, it was constructed for four bridges. At the time we only had a need for two, and currently we still only use the two," Heath Allen, executive director of the Lake Charles Airport, said.
Allen said said the new bridges could help in more ways than one.
“Right away it’ll help us in terms of capacity. When we have diversions, weather diversions, or delays, that sort of thing. When we have more aircraft on the ground than, you know, what we currently have space for," Allen said.
Allen said it could bring even more flights to Southwest Louisiana.
“The airport authority is constantly working to attract additional air service we’re currently in talks with American Airlines, both American and United for additional hubs," Allen said. "We currently have service to the Dallas hub with American and the Houston hub with United. We would love to get a Charlotte hub through American, that’s something we’re in deep talks with American about, something we’d certainly incentivize to get those folks over here. We’re also possibly looking at Chicago, we have numbers that would support a Chicago service.”
Allen said having the funds for extra loading bridges, puts the airport in a better position for those opportunities.
“You always want to be prepared for expansion. It is sort of the chicken or the egg type of thing, you know. It’s not a ‘build it and they’ll come’ but you want to be in a position, if American does decide they want to add a Charlotte hub, we need to be able to take advantage of that opportunity. A part of that is having the infrastructure in place to support the aircraft," Allen said.
The Lake Charles Regional Airport was one of six Louisiana airports to receive grant money. Chennault International Airport was awarded $300,000 to reconstruct a taxiway and the Southland Field in Sulphur got $105,000 to rehabilitate an apron and taxiway.