Taking Flight

Updates on the Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport

The 1929 Ford Tri-Motor, owned by the Experimental Aircraft Association, sits in the Port’s transient hangar during its first ever tour stop to south Louisiana.

 

Playing a major role in the ongoing efforts to keep transportation efficiently flowing throughout the tri-parish area, the Port Executive Regional Airport accommodates business, corporate and personal travel.

Located outside of local Class B airspace and airline operations and closer to the ground destinations, it eliminates longer drive times to and from commercial airports, such as those in New Orleans (technically Kenner) and Baton Rouge.

The Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport accommodates small, medium and large business aircraft operations.

Originally built in the mid-’80s, the airport continues to help foster economic growth. It is operated by the Port as a general aviation and business airport.

Currently, Vincent Caire, airport director, said, there is an active group of tenants operating 45 based aircraft from the airport.

“The airport now regularly serves aircraft operated or chartered by Port industries, their customers and their contractors,” he said. Several of the resident industries operate large business jet aircraft, and he said that there is a “welcoming, steady pace of arrivals and departures; daily operations range from five to 25 aircraft daily.”

The airport also often welcomes military pilots in flight training from air stations as far away as Pensacola, Florida, who conduct approach and landing practice, often referred to as “touch and go” training.

As airport director, Caire is responsible for the general daily operations, regulatory compliance, infrastructure improvements and maintenance and federal and state grant management.

Public relations is also important to the airport’s growth.

 “Everyone is familiar with commercial airlines that serve large cities,” he said, “But that is only a small portion of the overall aviation activity in the United States. General and business aviation operations are even more active in regional communities like our own, here in the River Parishes.”

Recent developments include new taxiway access to the aircraft parking ramp, which was added to “allow a higher volume of airplanes using the airport to park quickly,” he notes. “This new access also expedites the aircraft refueling process by providing more space on the ramp for aircraft.”

Additionally, the North taxiway at the airport was lengthened to parallel the entire length of the runway, providing more access for aircraft, whether they are arriving or departing.

Caire also said that the airport plays a role in community building, and has been hosting the Andouille Fly-In during the weekend of the St. John the Baptist Parish’s annual Andouille Festival, held in October. It also hosts a Pilots-n-Paws event, which is an animal adoption and rescue service, along with Pilots for Patients, a free flight service for individuals in need of medical care out of state.

Overall, Caire said the airport’s role and importance will continue to grow, and hospitality will continue to be an important part of that.

“Airports are large economic engines that have tremendous impact on local economies,” he said. This one is no exception, as he points out that money spent by pilots and passengers flying into this airport generate local tax revenue.

The Executive Regional Airport’s growth will continue to emphasize ease of use and time savings. Large corporate jets can regularly operate without the delays associated with larger airports, and as Caire notes, “Time saved in the air is time saved for the meeting with customers and clients” who work and conduct business within the Port.