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Chennault plans to buy 29 acres to be used in new runway

Last Modified: Friday, October 12, 2012 10:29 PM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

The Chennault International Airport Authority wants to reacquire 29 acres of land from McNeese State University for $686,000, land to be used as air space at the end of a new runway.

The authority’s Business Development/Architectural/Engineering Committee on Thursday voted to enter into a purchase agreement for the two tracts of property at Broad Street and Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Avenue.

The land, which was once Chennault’s, was given to McNeese in the mid-1960s but was never used.

Jerry Theunissen, a consultant for Chennault, said there is a lot of history behind the land, which is among the nearly 1,500 acres given and sold to various entities — city, parish and state — when Chennault ceased operations in 1963.

“This property has laid dormant since then,” Theunissen said. “The reason it becomes an issue now is that we’re looking at adding a runway.”

Chennault now has one runway, with a taxiway running parallel to it. In the next two to three years Chennault officials plan to turn the taxiway into a second runway.

“We want to ensure that nothing interferes with the approach of that runway,” Theunissen said. “And we’ll have an alternate runway in the event we need to do repairs on the main runway, or if there is an accident on the main runway, the aircrafts can continue to operate here.”

The state, through the Aviation Department, will pay the majority of the costs to acquire the property. The resolution will go before the full board at its next regular meeting.

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