Several regional and general aviation airports in Louisiana, United States, are set to receive grants towards airport improvements.
Louisiana Regional Airport in Gonzales is set to receive a $1.176 million federal grant to help pay for runway improvements at the facility, the funding is provided through the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP).
The grant was announced by the Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation Congressman Garret Graves who said: “I am excited to join the Ascension-St. James Airport and Transportation Authority in announcing this new federal funding, which will enhance Louisiana Regional, improve the facility’s accessibility and help expand business and job opportunities in Ascension Parish.”
Rick Webre, chairman of the Ascension-St. James Airport and Transportation Authority thanked the congressman “for his assistance in obtaining federal funding for ongoing, critical maintenance and development projects at the Louisiana Regional Airport.”
The general aviation airport is owned and operated by the Ascension-St. James Airport and Transportation Authority and first opened in May 1992.
This announcement follows one made earlier in the summer that the Baton Rouge regional airport will receive $22 million in federal funding.
The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport will be awarded a $15 million supplemental federal grant, plus a recently announced additional $7 million through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program.
The airport is served by American Airlines, Delta and United with flights to four major hubs: Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas Fort-Worth and Houston Intercontinental.
The additional funding is being utilised to establish a Runway Safety Area (RSA) /Runway Protection Zone (RPZ) for Runway 13-31, one of its two primary air carrier runways.
Expressing his thanks for the support, Mike Edwards, BTR’s director of aviation said: “The project will establish a standard Runway Safety Area and Runway Protection Zone for Runway 13-31, while also improving overall airport operations. As the airport continues to grow and develop, the community and surrounding area will benefit from the airport’s economic impact.”
Runway 31 currently has an Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS) at its end, which is an arrestor bed composed of blocks of lightweight, crushable cellular cement materials designed to safely stop an aircraft in a runway excursion.
The RSA/RPZ will replace the EMAS as the airport said it is the preferred long-term option, eliminating ongoing maintenance of the EMAS and the requirement to replace it every 15 to 20 years.
The project will also include the relocation of part of Plank Road, currently located at the end of Runway 31, allowing for the establishment of a full 1000’ Runway Safety Area. This will also remove the need for the current displaced runway threshold which requires aircraft to land further down Runway 31. The airport said the recovery of the 314’ displaced threshold will reclaim the full 7005’ runway length for landings.
BTR Airport Commission Chairman, Cleve Dunn, also expressed his gratitude for Congressman Graves support and commented: “The airport contributes $1.1 billion annually to the Baton Rouge economy and over 4500 direct and indirect jobs. This project will further expand BTR’s economic impact, and create additional jobs and contracting opportunities for Baton Rouge area residents and businesses.”
“This is a big win for travelers in the Capital Region, for BTR and for South Louisiana,” commented Congressman Graves. “We’re viewing this as a deposit and part of our broader, ongoing efforts to help make BTR the airport that Louisiana’s capital city deserves.”
Image inset: Louisiana Regional Airport