LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Carrie Kehrer of Lafayette and her husband Tracy fly out of Lafayette Regional Airport often. She said the current terminal is past its prime.
“It’s just so old. It needs more than a facelift. We just need another airport,” Kehrer said.
Many passengers like flying out of Lafayette.
“Convenience. It’s closer to my hometown so it’s just nice to get here quick and get on my plane,” said Fran Fontenot of Eunice.
Changes are on the way.
Lafayette Regional began building its new terminal in November 2018.
Airport executive director Steven Picou said crews have milled the site and tested the durability of the soil.
“We’ve relocated the rental cars. There’s been several buildings that have been taken down, that were in the way of the new terminal building,” Picou said.
The new terminal will be 120,000 square feet – twice the size of the current 1950s-era terminal.
It will be built to post 9/11 standards with a larger security checkpoint.
The hold rooms will also be able to accommodate bigger planes.
“The two outboard jet bridges will have the capacity for a 757 and all the inboards will go up to 737,” Picou said.
The entire project costs $130 million.
Thirty-three and-a-half million dollars was raised in 2015 through a temporary, taxpayer approved one-cent sales tax.
The terminal is being built to the northeast of the current terminal. Many passengers are looking forward to the new terminal.
It will have five gates expandable to seven and two security lines expandable to three.
“It’s going to open up so many opportunities. Hopefully we’ll get some more airlines in. We’ll get better rates,” Kehrer said.
The airport currently has four airlines: United, Delta, American and Frontier… flying to Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Orlando and Denver.
“I’m a big fan of working with the airlines that we have but we’re always looking to add new airlines. What I’d like to do is add different cities out of here,” Picou said.
He said they want to encourage residents to check out the new airport. There will be restaurants on both sides of the checkpoint.
“We’re going to have this great view of the airfield,” Picou said. “Working with TSA they’ve done it at other airports where you get a pass, and you can come eat at the airport.”
Last year, passenger traffic at the airport was up nearly ten percent.
Picou said the goal is to have the new terminal open in the first quarter of 2022.
The current terminal will be demolished once the new terminal is open.