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Lake Charles Regional Airport sees rise in travel

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 9:52 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The coronavirus pandemic jolted the aviation industry, and this is no exception for Lake Charles Regional Airport.

“There’s been some challenges in addition to the pandemic, which has already been terrible for our industry,” said Executive Director, Heath Allen.

As travel took a back burner, Allen explains that American Airlines paused their services at the airport.

“It started as a 30-day pause back in October of 2020, and of course that was due to the pandemic. They paused about 15 markets and a number of destinations, and unfortunately Lake Charles got caught up in that,” Allen said.

Fast forward a year later, and travel has taken off.

“We go all the way back to 2019, and that’s what we’ve been doing all of our bench marking against. Starting in June, we were actually above June 2019, July, the same thing. We were actually 12 percent above July 2019 for July 2021, so we were really excited about that,” Allen said.

Welcoming back those pre-pandemic numbers, Allen said the airport is nearly back to full operation as they hire more employees and bring in larger aircraft.

“United has been slow to bring all their flights back, but we’re back at three a day now, and we’ve got a larger aircraft starting on Oct. 5., which will be a 75-seater versus a 50-seater, and it will have a first class cabin,” Allen said. “We are excited to get that back, as well. We haven’t seen that aircraft operating in the market since right before the pandemic began back in 2020.”

Starting next month, food vendors and gift shops will return.

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