The Lake Charles Regional Airport has been awarded $1 million in federal grant funds, according to airport officials Tuesday.
Airport Executive Director Heath Allen said the funds are going to be used to purchase new passenger loading bridges for the terminal’s remaining two gates. He said that improvement will not only help the airport at the present time, but will allow it to prepare for expected growth over the next few years.
“We have seen double digit growth each year for the past two years, and by being able to expand our gate services now we can put ourselves in a better position to welcome that expected growth,” Allen stated.
According to Allen, when the terminal first opened in 2009, only two of its four terminal gates were being used and funding issues only allowed for two loading bridges to be purchased at that time. By adding the new loading bridges, he said that the airport will have the added flexibility of moving passengers to the other terminals during delays or unexpected airline changes, and will also allow it to have a better marketing position in bringing new services to the airport.
“We are at a position we have never been at before where we can go to these airlines and pitch to bring in new services, and we hope to be able to add them in the not-sodistant future,” Allen stated.
According to officials, Chennault International Airport also received $300,000 in federal funding for the design of a taxiway project, and Southland Field Airport will receive $105,000 to rehabilitate its existing taxiway and hangar apron.
Last month, the DeQuincy Industrial Airpark Airport received $150,000 from an FAA grant.
In an official statement, Congressman Clay Higgins said Tuesday that he believed the investments into the infrastructure of local airports were necessary to accomodate the state’s “record economic growth and industrial expansion.”
“Each of these airports provides critical industry support, and these investments ensure that our airports can continue to operate safely and with increased capacity.”