LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It’s no secret that the Lake Charles Regional Airport has seen major growth over the last few years.
According to the LA DOTD’s Office of Multimodal Transportation – Aviation Division, the Lake Charles Regional Airport experienced significant economic gains in the period from 2015 to 2019 based on a recently released update to the State’s Airports Economic Impact Study.
“There’s just been a lot of economic development happening in Southwest Louisiana and that’s certainly reflected out here at the airport,” said Executive Director Heath Allen.
The study took an in-depth look at categories of economic impact relating to Louisiana’s 68 public airports such as on-airport activity, capital improvements and visitors while estimating the direct and multiplier impacts to determine the total economic impact of each airport.
“What they found from that time period from 2015 to 2019, the trend across Louisiana was growth but it was quite exceptional at L.C. Regional where we’ve increased significantly in terms of economic growth, jobs, and payroll,” said Allen.
Since 2015, when the study was last conducted, the airport has seen a large increase in jobs, the amount of money workers receive doing those jobs, in addition to the money that is put into the community.
Lake Charles Regional Airport (LCH) 2019 Economic Impact Highlights
• Jobs 1,983 – 23% increase from 2015
• Payroll $72,854,000 – 39% increase from 2015
• Economic Output $311,191,000 – 39% increase from 2015
“We’re now over 300-million dollars in annual economic growth," Allen said. "When you really drill down the local taxes that are invested into this airport, it’s really amazing the return on investment... for every 1 dollar that’s invested in this airport on local tax, we’re returning 397 dollars into the local economy.”
In 2019, the airport added two additional flights and Allen said with recent federal grant money they’re excited for what the future holds.
“We certainly have plans and desires to bring additional airlines and destinations to our current airlines to SW Louisiana now, of course, that’s determined by the airlines themselves.”
Allen also noted that a 1-million dollar federally funded improvement project currently underway at the airport is likely to produce both short term and long term contributions to the local economy.
The positive results experienced at Lake Charles Regional are part of an overall trend of economic growth for many of Louisiana’s airports. The results of the study illustrate the value that the State’s airports and their associated activities bring to Louisiana.
Allen also mentioned that the airport is currently working to try and get American Airlines to add service to their Charlotte hub which would be an addition to the current DFW service that they currently offer from LCH.
Allen said the airport has a decent chance of gaining the additional hub. However, there is no clear timeframe as to when it could happen.
He noted that there is also a lot of competition between cities trying to attract service to Charlotte.