Chennault certified to land foreign aircraft and cargo at airport

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 3:33 PM CDT|Updated: May. 16, 2023 at 5:17 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Chennault Airport has reached an agreement with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to allow foreign aircraft and cargo to enter the U.S. in Lake Charles.

The airport said it plans to use international clearances as part of its commitment to grow business.

“We are delighted to formalize this relationship with U.S. Customs to ensure foreign clearance capabilities,” Chennault Executive Director Kevin Melton said. “Our Gulf Coast location is an ideal airport for aircraft from Latin America to enter the United States and we are now able to clear those aircraft here.”

While this clearance doesn’t apply to passengers, Chennault is able to take in aircrews and cargo now. The airport will work as a point of entry through its partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“You know in this world of supply chain management issues, it just brings us another opportunity to clear customs and bring goods through here,” Melton said.

Melton said the cargo facility, itself is only a few months old.

“It was designed so that we could provide an opportunity for quick and easy access. i.e. you may go to Houston and have delays because it’s very very congested,” he said.

Melton explained Chennault may help play a role in alleviating some of that congestion.

“We can bring the plane in here at low cost, we can bring them in here and focus on efficiencies with regard to time,” he said. “You’re not going to have the ground delays. You’re not going to have the airspace delays. We can get them in here and get them off the planes and get them on the truck or vice versa. We can bring it off the truck, get it on the airplane and it flies away to wherever its destination may be at the international level.”

This clearance is expected to be a benefit to Chennault’s current customers and tenants. However, the airport is looking to partner with a company that would utilize its ability to clear cargo.

“We are still going on and trying to find that right fit company to come in here and guess what that company may be in Lake Charles and we don’t even know it yet,” Melton said.

Chennault now seeks separate CBP-certified clearance at the recently built air cargo facility.