Nov. 29, 2016

To fully realize its economic and operational potential, an airport must make the most of the aviation markets it serves.

Recognizing that the use of business aviation at Louisiana’s Lafayette Regional Airport (LFT) has diminished over the past 20 years, Tim Skinner, vice chairman of the Lafayette Airport Commission, has made it his mission to reinvigorate its contribution to the airport and the community it supports.

Reaching out to aviation organizations for help, Skinner discovered a foundation for his efforts at a regional meeting, where he learned about the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, jointly sponsored by the National Business Aviation Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

Supported by the full range of No Plane No Gain advocacy resources detailing business aviation’s value at airports like LFT, Skinner has begun a multifaceted outreach and education effort that focuses on the other members of the airport commission and the diverse business community located in the eight parishes that surround the airport, he said.

Since the airport opened the new $7.1 million Taxiway Mike – which gives general aviation tenants, including those using aircraft for business, and transients easier access to the runways and a Signature Flight Support facility – Skinner has been using the No Plane No Gain materials, in conjunction with meeting with airport tenants, businesses, area political leaders and commissioners, “so they can see that growing business aviation provides a financial benefit to the airport and the community,” he said.

Inspired by the success stories presented in the No Plane No Gain resources, he’s also organizing a business aviation and aviation career day, tentatively planned for April 2017.

Located 35 miles from the Gulf Coast, midway between Houston, TX and New Orleans, LFT is the area’s connection to the airline hubs in Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth. However, it began as a general aviation airport in 1930, and its FBO, Paul Fournet Air Services, “which did it all,” from training and charter to avionics and maintenance, became the second-busiest general aviation operation in the state.

A P-38 pilot, Fournet passed away in 1992, and the airport was named in his honor in 2014.

Lafayette Regional Airport offers a wide range of services for general aviation aircraft, ranging from fueling and aircraft service to cargo, flight school and meeting and lounge facilities.

Learn more about LFT.