Lafayette Regional Airport
|Lafayette Regional Airport|
|Lafayette Regional Airport terminal from the tarmac|
|IATA: LFT – ICAO: KLFT – FAA LID: LFT|
|Owner||City & Parish of Lafayette|
|Operator||Lafayette Airport Commission|
|Location||Lafayette Parish, near Lafayette, Louisiana|
|Elevation AMSL||42 ft / 13 m|
|Sources: airport website and FAA|
Lafayette Regional Airport (IATA: LFT, ICAO: KLFT, FAA LID: LFT) is a public airport two miles (4 km) southeast of Lafayette, in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, United States. It is owned by the City & Parish of Lafayette.
The airport is 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, via Delta Connection, 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. The airport serves the greater Lafayette metropolitan area, which has a population of approximately 530,000 people.
Facilities and aircraft
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).
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.
Airlines and destinations
|American Eagle||Dallas/Fort Worth|
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. 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 I-49 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. 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. The old cargo ramp will create more room for a planned main terminal building extension. A preliminary study has begun concerning the existing terminal building in planning for future growth and construction. Adding an extension to the terminal would allow 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).
World War II
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
In 1948 Eastern Airlines began the first scheduled passenger service. In the 1950s Eastern operated up to eight flights a day with Martin 4-0-4 and Convair 440 propliners with four flights to New Orleans via Baton Rouge and four flights to Houston Hobby Airport via Lake Charles, LA and Beaumont/Port Arthur, TX.
The first jet service for the airport was operated by Texas International Airlines (formerly TTa, Trans-Texas Airways) 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. TTa and Texas International also flew Convair 600 turboprops from Lafayette. In February 1976 Texas International (TI) operated direct DC-9 service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Lafayette with six intermediate stops en route. By 1979, Texas International was operating ten jet flights a day from Lafayette with Douglas DC-9-10s and 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. 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. 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 Douglas DC-9-30 jet flights to Houston. 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 operated direct McDonnell Douglas MD-80 service from New York Newark Airport to Lafayette via Baltimore and Houston.
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. In November 1984 Royale was flying to Houston Intercontinental Airport and New Orleans from Lafayette with hourly shuttle service operated on weekdays. 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 L'Express Airlines, based in the New Orleans area, operated nonstop to Houston Hobby Airport and New Orleans with Beechcraft turboprops. Hammond Air Service flew nonstop to Houston Hobby Airport with de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter turboprops and Piper prop aircraft.
The last major airline jet service for the airport was operated by Continental Airlines with Boeing 737-300 and Boeing 737-500 jetliners nonstop to Houston. 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. All passenger flights at the airport are now flown with Canadair CRJ-200 or CRJ-700 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 American Eagle to Dallas/Ft. Worth on behalf of American Airlines and also by ExpressJet to Houston operating as United Express). Colgan Air, operating as United Express, ceased serving Lafayette during the summer of 2012. Colgan had flown Bombardier Q400 high speed propjets 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 turboprops nonstop to Ft. Walton Beach/Destin, FL.
Current airline operations
The three airlines at Lafayette, American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express, now use regional jets. 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 had 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 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. Other Delta Connection flights between LFT and ATL continue to use single class Canadair CRJ-200 regional jets. The CRJ-700 has once again become the largest airliner type to serve Lafayette. That 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.
Notable past operations
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2013)|
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.
- 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
- Lafayette Regional Airport
- FAA Airport Master Record for LFT ( PDF), effective 2008-06-05
- timetableimages.com, Eastern Air Lines January 7, 1950 system timetable
- airliners.net, photo section, Texas International Airlines DC-9 in Lafayette, Louisiana, photo #0160646
- February 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American
- http://www.departedflights.com, Texas International March 15, 1979 system timetable
- departedflights.com, June 1, 1982 Continental Airlines/Texas International Airlines joint system timetable
- departedflights.com, Continental Employees February 1, 1987 system timetable
- Sept. 15, 1994 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American edition
- departedflights.com, April 1, 1981 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American edition
- departedflights.com, Royale Airlines Nov. 1, 1984 system timetable
- departedflights.com; July 1, 1983 Official Airline Guide (OAG)
- departedflights.com, Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Houston Hobby and New Orleans flight schedules
- departedflights.com, July 1, 1983 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Houston Hobby flight schedules
- (PDF), effective April 3, 2014
- FAA Terminal Procedures for LFT, effective April 3, 2014
- Resources for this airport: