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Chennault International Airport breaks ground on new air cargo facility

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 6:40 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Chennault International Airport.

It’s been making history in the lake area for decades, and now they are continuing to do just that.

“I kind of woke up today and said, I can’t believe this is actually happening,” said Denis Rau, president of the board of commissioners at Chennault.

It’s breaking ground for its new ten-thousand-square-foot air cargo facility.

“So many people have worked hard to make it happen over decades, and it will offer growth, it will offer all new kinds of opportunities that we’ve never seen here,” she said. “It’s a new line of business.”

And opportunities it will bring, principal for the DVW aviation advisor David Whitaker says this is an economic initiative for the city of Lake Charles.

“Landing fees would be generated by the activity that comes here, there are jobs associated with the activity that we’re pursuing, and a number of ripple-down effects with this activity,” he said. “So it’s an economic move.”

Costing about four million dollars, he says it’s a great time for Chennault to get into the air cargo industry.

“There are not enough airplanes in the world actually right now to move all the air cargo and meet the demand,” he said. “So airplanes sitting in the desert have been resurrected. Companies are looking to buy new planes, all to move cargo.”

Denise Rau says they started talking about air cargo back in 2012.

“We have talked at conferences and all of these places with industry leaders about why Lake Charles should be a place for air cargo,” she said. “It just makes sense, you know, Houston’s a busy, busy airport, and they fly around in a queue for a while trying to get that cargo down here,” she said. Here you buzz in, buzz out.”

And while the facility is expected to take about a year to complete, Whitaker says it might take a little longer due to a shortage of supplies following the pandemic.

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