Lafayette Regional Airport

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Lafayette Regional Airport
Lafayette Regional Airport Logo.jpg
Lafayette Regional Airport.jpg
Lafayette Regional Airport terminal from the tarmac
IATA: LFTICAO: KLFTFAA LID: LFT
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner City & Parish of Lafayette
Operator Lafayette Airport Commission
Serves Lafayette, Louisiana
Location Lafayette Parish, near Lafayette, Louisiana
Elevation AMSL 42 ft / 13 m
Coordinates 30°12′19″N 91°59′15″W / 30.20528°N 91.98750°W / 30.20528; -91.98750
Website www.LFTairport.com
Map
LFT is located in Louisiana
LFT
LFT
Location of airport in Louisiana
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
4L/22R 4,099 1,249 Asphalt
4R/22L 7,651 2,332 Asphalt
11/29 5,400 1,646 Asphalt
Helipads
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 50 15 Asphalt
Statistics (2006)
Aircraft operations 114,303
Based aircraft 159
Sources: airport website[1] and FAA[2]

Lafayette Regional Airport (IATA: LFTICAO: KLFTFAA LID: LFT) is a public airport two miles (4 km) southeast of Lafayette, in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, United States. It is independently owned and operated.

The airport is located next to U.S. Highway 90 (future Interstate 49) on the east side of the city, close to offshore oil and gas activity in the Gulf of Mexico. Lafayette Regional is home to one of the largest helicopter companies in the world, PHI, Inc. (formerly Petroleum Helicopters Inc.). Although the airport does not have international flights, regional jet service is operated nonstop to three hubs: Atlanta (ATL), Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) and Houston (IAH). Delta Air Lines began mainline Boeing 717-200 jet service nonstop to Atlanta effective July 3, 2014 in addition to its regional jet flights operated by Delta Connection. United Airlines began expanded service from Lafayette featuring a new daily nonstop flight to Denver which became effective August 19, 2014 and is operated by its regional partner United Express.[3] Delta, via Delta Connection, previously provided nonstop service from Lafayette to its hub in Memphis, TN until 2011. Allegiant Air initiated nonstop service to Las Vegas on November 3, 2011 but then discontinued these flights in February 2012.[4] The airport serves the greater Lafayette metropolitan area, which has a population of approximately 530,000 people. In 2014, 501,101 passengers flew in and out of the airport, the highest in its history [5]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Lafayette Regional Airport (LFT) covers 746 acres (302 ha) at an elevation of 42 feet (13 m) above mean sea level. It has three asphalt runways: 4L/22R, 4,099 x 75 feet (1,249 x 23 m), 4R/22L, 7,651 x 150 feet (2,332 x 46 m), and 11/29, 5,400 x 148 feet (1,646 x 45 m). It has one helipad, 50 x 50 ft (15 x 15 m).[2]

In the year ended February 28, 2006 the airport had 114,303 aircraft operations, an average of 313 per day: 38% general aviation, 36% air taxi, 24% commuter/cargo, 2% military and 1% scheduled commercial. At that time there were 159 aircraft based at this airport: 57% single-engine, 27% multi-engine, 9% jet and 7% helicopter.[2]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
American Eagle Dallas/Fort Worth
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Delta Connection Atlanta
United Express Denver, Houston-Intercontinental
KLFT airport diagram as of September 2013.

Cargo operations[edit]

Lafayette Regional Airport is building a new cargo terminal on the southwest side of the airfield, near the PHI headquarters. It will be approximately 22,500 square feet.[6] Construction commenced in September 2010. It will provide parking for up to five Boeing 757 aircraft on its apron and will also join to existing taxiways that connect to runways 4R/22L. The relocation of the cargo ramp will give cargo carriers such as UPS and FedEx direct access to U.S. Highway 90 (future Interstate 49 freeway corridor). Currently, UPS bases a Boeing 757-200 aircraft at the airport. FedEx previously based two (2) Boeing 727-200 trijets on the airfield until this aircraft type was retired from their fleet on June 21, 2013.[7] The FedEx Boeing 727s have now been replaced with a Boeing 757-200 aircraft. These Boeing 757 jets operated by both FedEx and UPS are currently the largest aircraft to use the airport on a regular basis. DHL had operated a Douglas DC-9 aircraft configured for freight operations from Lafayette; however, this company subsequently shut down all of their flight operations in the U.S. It was envisioned by airport officials that the old cargo ramp would create more room for a planned main terminal building extension. However, the airport has now begun planning for the construction of a completely new passenger terminal which would replace the old terminal.[8]

Terminal expansion study[edit]

A preliminary study was being conducted concerning the existing terminal building in planning for future growth and construction. Adding an extension to the terminal would have allowed Lafayette Regional Airport to handle more air traffic, which could entice international carriers to use it as a connecting airport. This would require a U.S. Customs department office stationed at the airport, which would bring Lafayette Regional Airport to an 'international airport' status. However, international service from Lafayette appears unlikely at this time due to the relatively small population base in the area as well as the presence of large international and domestic passenger hubs located relatively nearby in Atlanta (Delta Air Lines), Dallas/Fort Worth (American Airlines) and Houston (United Airlines).

New airport terminal[edit]

On Dec. 6, 2014, local voters approved a ballot measure that will enable a new one percent sales tax to be collected in order to fund construction of a completely new passenger air terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.[9] According to an article in the Lafayette Daily Advertiser newspaper, airport officials will use the funds generated by the sales tax to select a design firm, finalize a design and develop construction plans. Construction of a new terminal could begin in 2016 and take about three years to complete. However, additional federal and state funding will be required in order for the project to be completed. While construction of a new terminal is underway, the existing passenger terminal will be used. Once the new terminal is in operation, plans call for the existing terminal to be demolished.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

The airport opened as Lafayette Municipal Airport on 29 November 1930. On 5 July 1942, during World War II, the airport was commandeered by the United States Army Air Forces and used as a contract primary pilot training airfield under the AAF Gulf Coast Training Center (later Central Flying Training Command). The 384th Army Air Force Base Unit administered the contract to a civilian-operated primary flying school (Lafayette School of Aeronautics) as a sub-base of DeRidder Army Airbase, Louisiana, which also had four (4) auxiliary airfields located nearby for emergency and overflow landings. Fairchild PT-19s were the primary trainer; several PT-17 Stearmans and a few P-40 Warhawks were assigned.

The airfield was transferred from the DeRidder AAB to Esler Army Airfield (Third Air Force) on 24 March 1944. The mission of base became training of replacement combat aircrews. On 30 September 1945, the airfield was deactivated and returned to civil control.

Postwar civil use: airline service[edit]

In 1948 Eastern Air Lines began the first scheduled passenger service into Lafayette.[10] During the 1950s Eastern operated up to ten flights a day with Martin 4-0-4 "Silver Falcon" and Convair 340 propliners with up to five flights a day to New Orleans via Baton Rouge and up to five flights a day to Houston Hobby Airport via Lake Charles, LA and Beaumont/Port Arthur, TX.[11] Some of these Eastern flights featured continuing, no change of plane service on to other destinations such as Atlanta, Charlotte, and San Antonio. Eastern served Lafayette until the mid 1960s with Convair 440 propliners when it then ceased all service into the airport.[12]

Trans-Texas Airways (TTa) began serving Lafayette during the mid 1950s. In 1956, TTa was operating two departures a day with Douglas DC-3 aircraft to Shreveport via an intermediate stop in Lake Charles with continuing service to Dallas and on to Fort Worth via stops in the east Texas cities of Longview, Marshall and Tyler.[13] By 1959, Trans-Texas had expanded its DC-3 service from the airport with four nonstop flights a day to New Orleans as well as two nonstop flights a day to Alexandria, LA with continuing service to Little Rock via stops in El Dorado, AR and Camden, AR in addition to maintaining its two flights a day schedule to Shreveport and Dallas. [14] Flights to Houston were then introduced during the 1960s which were operated with Douglas DC-3 and Convair 240 propliners followed by Convair 600 turboprops.[15] By 1970, Trans-Texas Airways had changed its name to Texas International Airlines.[16]

The first jet service into the airport was operated by Texas International Airlines (TI) with Douglas DC-9-10 twinjets to Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, New Orleans and other cities. Texas International introduced jets into Lafayette with the DC-9 in the early 1970s.[17] TI also served the airport with Convair 600 turboprops. In February 1976 Texas International operated direct DC-9 service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Lafayette with six intermediate stops en route.[18] By 1979, Texas International was operating ten jet flights a day from Lafayette with Douglas DC-9-10s and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s nonstop to Houston, New Orleans and Lake Charles, LA with direct, no change of plane jet service to Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque and Little Rock.[19] In 1982 Texas International was operating three DC-9 flights a day from Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) to Lafayette via Houston (IAH). A fourth daily DC-9 flight was operated from Houston to Lafayette as well by TI.[20] Later that year Texas International was merged into Continental Airlines which in turn continued to serve Lafayette with Boeing 727-100, Boeing 727-200, Douglas DC-9-10 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 jet flights to Houston.[21] Continental jets were then replaced by Continental Express ATR-42 and Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia regional turboprop aircraft. Continental later reintroduced mainline nonstop jet service to Houston. In September 1994 Continental was operating direct McDonnell Douglas MD-80 service from New York Newark Airport to Lafayette via Baltimore and Houston.[22]

Several independent commuter airlines served Lafayette over the years as well. Royale Airlines, based in Shreveport, Louisiana, served the airport with Beechcraft C99, Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante and Short 330 turboprops.[23] In November 1984 Royale was flying to Houston Intercontinental Airport and New Orleans from Lafayette with hourly shuttle service operated to both destinations on weekdays.[24] Another commuter air carrier, Metro Airlines, served Lafayette with Short 330 turboprops nonstop to Houston Intercontinental. Metroflight Airlines, a division of Metro Airlines, operated Convair 580 turboprops nonstop to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport flying as American Eagle on behalf of American Airlines[25] L'Express Airlines, based in the New Orleans area, operated nonstop to Houston Hobby Airport and New Orleans with Beechcraft turboprops.[26] Hammond Air Service flew nonstop to Houston Hobby Airport with de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter turboprops and Piper prop aircraft.[27]

Major airline mainline jet service for the airport was previously operated by Continental Airlines with Boeing 737-300 and Boeing 737-500 jetliners nonstop to Houston until Continental turned over all service into Lafayette to its regional affiliates, Continental Express operated by ExpressJet and Continental Connection operated by Colgan Air. Following the merger of Continental with United Airlines, ExpressJet and Colgan Air then became United Express air carriers. Major airline mainline jet service resumed on July 3, 2014 when Delta Air Lines began Boeing 717 flights between Lafayette and Atlanta. The airport was also served by Northwest Airlink with nonstop Saab 340 turboprop and Canadair CRJ-200 regional jet flights to Memphis. Following the merger of Northwest Airlines with Delta Air Lines, Canadair CRJ-200 regional jet service operated by Delta Connection to Memphis was discontinued. The majority of passenger flights at the airport are now flown with Canadair CRJ-200, CRJ-700 and CRJ-900 regional jets (operated by ExpressJet as Delta Connection) to Atlanta or by Embraer ERJ-135, ERJ-140 and ERJ-145 series regional jets (flown by Envoy Air operating as American Eagle to Dallas/Ft. Worth on behalf of American Airlines[28] and also by ExpressJet to Houston operating as United Express). Some American Eagle flights to DFW are also currently operated by ExpressJet with Canadair CRJ-200 regional jets.[28] Colgan Air, operating as United Express, ceased serving Lafayette during the summer of 2012. Colgan had flown Bombardier Q400 high speed propjets (which is the largest and fastest member of the DHC-8 Dash 8 aircraft family) as well as Saab 340 turboprops operating feeder service for United to Houston. ExpressJet replaced the Colgan service with additional Embraer ERJ-135 and Embraer ERJ-145 regional jet frequencies operating as United Express nonstop to Houston. Vision Airlines briefly served Lafayette during the summer of 2011 with Dornier 328 propjets nonstop to Ft. Walton Beach/Destin, FL via the Northwest Florida Regional Airport located on Eglin Air Force Base.

Current airline operations[edit]

The three regional airlines serving Lafayette, American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express, currently use regional jets for their flights. The exception is Delta Air Lines which began mainline service nonstop to Atlanta on July 3, 2014 using the Boeing 717-200 jetliner. At this same time, Delta Connection also began serving Lafayette with 76-seat Canadair CRJ-900 regional jets which like the B717 feature first class, "Economy Comfort" and standard coach seating. Previously, the only mainline jet aircraft type serving Lafayette (following the cessation of Continental Airlines mainline jet service) was the twice weekly McDonnell Douglas MD-80 service flown by Allegiant Air nonstop to Las Vegas. On June 7, 2012 Delta Connection began daily service to Atlanta on Canadair CRJ-700s with wi-fi, 9 first class seats and 56 economy class seats including an enhanced "Economy Comfort" section (more legroom). These flights provided the only first class service available at the time from Lafayette. In Delta's November 2012 timetable all CRJ-700 service to Lafayette was replaced with smaller Canadair CRJ-200s. Delta Connection then resumed dual-class service between Lafayette and Atlanta on June 10, 2013 with a single daily Canadair CRJ-700 regional jet flight featuring wi-fi as well as 9 First Class seats, 8 "Economy Comfort" seats and 48 Economy seats. Several of the other Delta Connection flights between LFT and ATL continue to use single class Canadair CRJ-200 regional jets. The CRJ-700 was the largest airliner type to serve Lafayette. However, that changed when Delta began 110-seat Boeing 717 service nonstop to Atlanta on July 3, 2014. The B717, featuring first class, "Economy Comfort" and standard coach seating, has now become the largest aircraft type to serve Lafayette with scheduled passenger flights and marks the return of mainline jet aircraft service. This distinction was previously held by Allegiant Air with McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jetliner service operated nonstop to Las Vegas before this airline ceased all flights from the airport.[29]

Nonstop Denver service[edit]

United Airlines began daily nonstop service to Denver from the airport effective on August 19, 2014. These flights are operated by United regional affiliate and code sharing partner United Express with Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets. This service marks the first time Lafayette has had nonstop flights to the United hub in Denver.[3]

Notable past operations[edit]

In March 2001, Air Force One landed in Lafayette transporting President George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States. This Boeing 747-200B (USAF aircraft designation VC-25A) flight into Lafayette with President Bush onboard appears to have been the largest aircraft ever to land at the airport. More recently, U.S. Air Force C-17 "Globemaster III" aircraft have flown into Lafayette. These large, four engine, military transport jets were supporting air show activities at the airfield. In addition, United Airlines uses Lafayette Regional as a diversion airport when inclement weather disrupts flight operations at the airline's major connecting hub located at Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Texas. Up to five (5) Boeing 737 jetliners operated by United have been observed on the airport ramp at one time due to weather diversions.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Shaw, Frederick J. (2004), Locating Air Force Base Sites History’s Legacy, Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, Washington DC, 2004.
  • Manning, Thomas A. (2005), History of Air Education and Training Command, 1942–2002. Office of History and Research, Headquarters, AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas ASIN: B000NYX3PC
  1. ^ Lafayette Regional Airport
  2. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for LFT (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2008-06-05
  3. ^ a b http://www.lftairport.com
  4. ^ http://www.thetowntalk.com/article/20120127/BUSINESS/120127022/-1/rss01
  5. ^ http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2015/01/15/lafayette-airport-use-record-setting/21821585/
  6. ^ http://www.lftairport.com/PageDisplay.asp?p1=7049
  7. ^ http://news.van.fedex.com
  8. ^ http://www.theadvertiser.com. "Lafayette airport terminal tax passes"
  9. ^ http://www.theadvertiser.com, "Lafayette airport terminal tax passes"
  10. ^ http://www.lftairport.com/PageDisplay.asp?p1=4709
  11. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Eastern Air Lines December 1, 1958 system timetable
  12. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Eastern Air Lines June 1, 1965 system timetable
  13. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Sept. 1, 1956 Trans-Texas Airways system timetable
  14. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Aug. 1, 1959 Trans-Texas Airways system timetable
  15. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com, Trans-Texas Airways Oct. 20, 1966 system timetable
  16. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1970 Texas International Airlines system timetable
  17. ^ http://www.airliners.net, photo section, Texas International Airlines DC-9 in Lafayette, Louisiana, photo #0160646
  18. ^ February 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American edition
  19. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Texas International March 15, 1979 system timetable
  20. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, June 1, 1982 Continental Airlines/Texas International Airlines joint system timetable
  21. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Continental Employees February 1, 1987 system timetable
  22. ^ Sept. 15, 1994 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American edition
  23. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, April 1, 1981 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American edition
  24. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Royale Airlines Nov. 1, 1984 system timetable
  25. ^ http://www.departedflights.com; July 1, 1983 Official Airline Guide (OAG)
  26. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Houston Hobby and New Orleans flight schedules
  27. ^ http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1983 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Houston Hobby flight schedules
  28. ^ a b aa.com, June 8, 2014 American Airlines system timetable
  29. ^ http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20120228/NEWS05/120228001/1064

External links[edit]