Lafayette Regional Airport
|Lafayette Regional Airport|
Lafayette Regional Airport terminal from the tarmac
|Owner||City & Parish of Lafayette|
|Operator||Lafayette Airport Commission|
|Location||Lafayette Parish, near Lafayette, Louisiana|
|Elevation AMSL||42 ft / 13 m|
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 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 was operated by its regional partner United Express until this flight was discontinued on October 23, 2015. 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. The airport serves the greater Lafayette metropolitan area as well as nearby New Iberia, which has a combined population of approximately 530,000 people. In 2014, 501,101 passengers flew in and out of the airport, the highest in its history.
- 1 Facilities and aircraft
- 2 Airlines and destinations
- 3 Cargo operations
- 4 Terminal expansion study
- 5 New airport terminal
- 6 History
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
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 by 75 feet (1,249 by 23 metres), 4R/22L, 7,651 by 150 feet (2,332 by 46 metres), and 11/29, 5,400 by 148 feet (1,646 by 45 metres). It has one helipad, 50 ft × 50 ft (15 m × 15 m).
In the year ending May 31, 2016 the airport had 47,239 aircraft operations, an average of 129 per day: 48% general aviation, 45% air taxi, 2% military and 5% scheduled commercial. At that time there were 144 aircraft based at this airport: 54% single-engine, 17% multi-engine, 20% jet and 9% helicopter.
Airlines and destinations
|American Eagle||Dallas/Fort Worth|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta|
|2||Houston (Intercontinental), Texas||70,080|
|3||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||63,800|
Lafayette Regional Airport has now completed a new cargo terminal on the southwest side of the airfield near the PHI headquarters. It is approximately 22,500 square feet. Construction commenced in September 2010. It provides parking for two Boeing 757 aircraft on its apron and also is accessible to existing taxiways that connect to runways 4R/22L. The relocation of the cargo ramp provides 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. 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.
Terminal expansion study
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
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. 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 2017 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.
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 Air Base, 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.
Control of the airfield was transferred from DeRidder AAB to Third Air Force (Esler Field) 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
In 1948, Eastern Air Lines began the first scheduled passenger service into Lafayette. During the 1950s Eastern operated up to ten flights a day with Martin 4-0-4 and Convair 340 twin prop "Silver Falcon" airliners 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. According to its December 1, 1958 system timetable, Eastern was operating a daily round trip flight with a Convair 340 on a routing of Brownsville - Corpus Christi - Houston Hobby Airport - Beaumont/Port Arthur - Lake Charles - Lafayette - Baton Rouge - New Orleans - Mobile - Pensacola - Montgomery - Birmingham - Atlanta. Other Eastern flights featured continuing, no change of plane service to such destinations as Charlotte and San Antonio. Eastern served Lafayette until the mid-1960s with Convair 440 propliners when it then ceased all service into the airport.
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. 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. 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. By 1969, Trans-Texas Airways had changed its name to Texas International Airlines.
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. TI also served the airport with Convair 600 turboprops. In February 1976 Texas International was operating direct DC-9 jet service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Lafayette with six intermediate stops en route via Albuquerque, Roswell, NM, Midland/Odessa, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and Beaumont. 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. 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 McDonnell 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 was operating direct McDonnell Douglas MD-80 service from New York Newark Airport to Lafayette via Baltimore and Houston.
During the 1990s, American Eagle and Delta Connection were competing with nonstop service to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) with American Eagle flying Saab 340 turboprops and Delta Connection (operated by code sharing partner Atlantic Southeast Airlines) flying Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia propjets. At this same time, Atlantic Southeast Airlines operating as Delta Connection was operating direct service to Atlanta with Embraer EMB-120 propjets via an intermediate stop in Meridian, MS. Delta Connection would eventually introduce Embraer ERJ-135 regional jet service to Dallas/Fort Worth which was subsequently discontinued when Delta Air Lines shut down their DFW hub operation in 2005. The American Eagle service to Dallas/Fort Worth had been previously operated by Metroflight Airlines, a division of Metro Airlines, flying Convair 580 turboprops on behalf of American Airlines via a code sharing agreement during the mid-1980s.
Several independent commuter airlines served Lafayette over the years as well. Royale Airlines, based in Shreveport, Louisiana, served the airport with Beechcraft 99, Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante, Grumman Gulfstream I and Short 330 turboprops. 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 and also operated direct flights to Shreveport. Another commuter air carrier, Metro Airlines, served Lafayette with Short 330 turboprops nonstop to Houston Intercontinental. L'Express Airlines, based in the New Orleans area, operated nonstop to Houston Hobby Airport and New Orleans with Beechcraft turboprops. Air New Orleans served Lafayette during the mid-1980s with flights to New Orleans. Hammond Air Service flew nonstop to Houston Hobby Airport with de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter turboprops and Piper prop aircraft. Other commuter air carriers operating nonstop service to New Orleans in the past included Air East in 1970, Vantage Airlines in 1974 and Southern Skies in 1981.
The most recent mainline jet service previously operated by Continental Airlines was flown 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 CRJ200 regional jet flights to Memphis. Following the merger of Northwest Airlines with Delta Air Lines, Canadair CRJ200 regional jet service operated by Delta Connection to Memphis was discontinued. The majority of passenger flights at the airport are now flown with Canadair CRJ200, CRJ700 and CRJ900 regional jets operated by ExpressJet as Delta Connection to Atlanta and by CRJ700, CRJ900 and ERJ-145 series regional jets flown by Envoy Air or Mesa Airlines with both carriers operating as American Eagle to Dallas/Ft. Worth on behalf of American Airlines. ExpressJet operates ERJ-145 aircraft to Houston operating as United Express. Additional United Express service to Houston is operated by Shuttle America with larger Embraer ERJ-170 regional jets and also by SkyWest Airlines with larger Canadair CRJ700 regional jets. Some American Eagle flights to DFW are also currently operated by ExpressJet with Canadair CRJ200 regional jets. 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
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 CRJ900 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 featuring increased legroom. These flights provided the only first class service available at the time from Lafayette. In Delta's November 2012 timetable all CRJ700 service to Lafayette was replaced with smaller Canadair CRJ200s. Delta Connection then resumed dual-class service between Lafayette and Atlanta on June 10, 2013, with Canadair CRJ700 and CRJ900 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 CRJ200 regional jets. The CRJ700 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.
More recently, United Express introduced larger Canadair CRJ700 (operated by SkyWest Airlines) and Embraer ERJ-170 (operated by Shuttle America) regional jet service with first class and coach seating on some flights to Houston in addition to its all coach Embraer ERJ-135 and ERJ-145 regional jet service (operated by ExpressJet) to IAH. American Eagle has also now introduced larger Canadair CRJ700 and Canadair CRJ900 regional jets featuring first class and coach seating on its service to Dallas/Fort Worth in addition to its all coach Canadair CRJ200 and Embraer ERJ-145 flights to DFW.
Previous nonstop Denver service
United Airlines began daily nonstop service to Denver from the airport effective on August 19, 2014. These flights were operated by United regional affiliate and code sharing partner United Express with Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets. This service marked the first time Lafayette had nonstop flights to the United hub in Denver. However, on July 27, 2015, United Airlines announced it would be ending this United Express service to Denver and the flight was discontinued on October 23, 2015.
Other notable past operations
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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 on board 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.
- Lafayette Regional Airport
- FAA Airport Master Record for LFT ( PDF), effective March 2, 2017
- "RITA | BTS | Transtats". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. January 2017. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
- http://www.theadvertiser.com. "Lafayette airport terminal tax passes"
- http://www.theadvertiser.com, "Lafayette airport terminal tax passes"
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Eastern Air Lines December 1, 1958 system timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Eastern Air Lines June 1, 1965, system timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Sept. 1, 1956 Trans-Texas Airways system timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Aug. 1, 1959, Trans-Texas Airways system timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Trans-Texas Airways Oct. 20, 1966, system timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1970, Texas International Airlines system timetable
- http://www.airliners.net, photo section, Texas International Airlines DC-9 in Lafayette, Louisiana, photo #0160646
- February 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American edition
- http://www.departedflights.com, Texas International March 15, 1979, system timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, June 1, 1982, Continental Airlines/Texas International Airlines joint system timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, Continental Employees February 1, 1987 system timetable
- Sept. 15, 1994 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American edition
- http://www.departedflights.com, Oct. 1, 1991 & June 1, 1999 editions, Official Airline Guide (OAG), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)-Lafayette schedules
- Sept. 15, 1994 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Lafayette flight schedules
- http://www.departedflights.com, Feb. 15, 1985 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Dallas/Fort Worth-Lafayette schedules
- http://www.departedflights.com, April 1, 1981 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American edition
- http://www.departedflights.com, Royale Airlines Nov. 1, 1984 system timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Houston Hobby and New Orleans flight schedules
- http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1983, Official Airline Guide (OAG), Houston Hobby flight schedules
- http://www.timetableimages.com, March 15, 1970 Air East timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, April 1, 1974 Official Airline Guide (OAG), New Orleans-Lafayette flight schedules
- http://www.departedflights.com, April 1, 1981 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Lafayette flight schedules
- aa.com, June 8, 2014 American Airlines system timetable
- http://www.united.com, Timetable
- 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
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lafayette Airport (Louisiana).|
- Lafayette Regional Airport, official site
- (PDF), effective December 7, 2017
- FAA Terminal Procedures for LFT, effective December 7, 2017
- Resources for this airport: