Lake Charles Regional Airport receives federal funding

Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 9:20 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Traffic in airports across the country decreased significantly at the start of the pandemic.

But with a now increasing travel demand, many airports are preparing to get back to regular operations.

Here at Lake Charles Regional, Executive Director Heath Allen says the airport operates just like any other business.

“We charge rentals for the airlines to operate, so landing fees, fuel flowage fees, that sort of thing,” he said. “We’ve charged a commission for each rental car that goes out, and that’s really how we keep the airport open.”

But with the COVID-19 pandemic and a downturn in travel, the aviation industry has been hard hit.

“Our rental car revenue has just fallen through the floor,” he added. “Same thing with the airlines.”

Fortunately, financial relief is on the way, as Lake Charles Regional is set to receive its next round of funding as part of a federal covid relief package.

“Congress stepped in and provided assistance to airports across this nation,” he said. “This is just another round relief.”

Receiving just over a million dollars, Allen says this money will go towards security and safety services.

“A lot of people don’t realize that a commercial airport like us, we have to provide security, which we contract through the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Department, we have to provide fire departments.”

But that’s not all.

“The airport is responsible for paying all of those salaries and all the expenses associated with the contracts and.”

With Chennault International also set to receive funding, Allen says this aid benefits the community at large.

“Both Chennault and Lake Charles airport are extremely important to our economy. With the commercial service, when you look at what it provides our community today, I’m traveling on business, I was able to, you know, quick, quick in and out of the airport.”

He says this temporary funding will help get the airport through this time as travel is beginning to uptick once again.

Allen says they were fortunate enough not to have let employees go during the pandemic.

He says they have been able to maintain the usual services that they provide.

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