Since the creation of the first airport in 1909 by Wilbur Wright, cities and states have come together to create one of the most expansive airport systems in the world. Over the next few months, our writers have taken an in-depth look at each state to see what airports it has to offer, what its history entails, and what changes we can expect in the future that will continue to shape the airline industry.
The Bayou State has become known for its multicultural heritage, good seafood and lively jazz and blues music. While the state has only one major airport, it has numerous smaller airports that allow the state to be connected to major nearby hubs. With New Orleans continuing to see a tourism resurgence, the area is hopeful that more regular service from the airlines will follow.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport – New Orleans, LA (MSY)
As the largest metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana, New Orleans has gone through both struggle and resurgence since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. In order to facilitate growth, the local airport is known for providing significant incentives for airlines to start service to cities that are not already directly served.
Formerly known as Moisant Field, New Orleans International began carrier service in 1946. Similar to many parts of the city of New Orleans, the airport is 4.5 feet above sea level, causing it to be closed twice in its history due to flooding. The airport was closed on August 28, 2005 as Hurricane Katrina approached, and remained closed until September 13 of the same year. Thankfully there was no significant flood damage at the airport, but rather had minor damage to its roof and aircraft hangars.
Following the hurricane, the airport started regaining service slowly but surely, beginning with service from Delta and Northwest to Atlanta and Memphis, respectively. Since then, the city has gained significant service from major carriers not just from the United States, but internationally as well. Air Canada, Copa Airlines, Condor and now British Airways have all announced service to New Orleans, representing continued optimism for the city for the years to come.
Shreveport Regional Airport – Shreveport, LA (DTN)
As the third largest city in the state of Louisiana, it is the commercial center where Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas all meet. At one time, the airport was a regular feeder city for Delta Air Lines, as the carrier operated 33 flights a day, mostly to its hub in Atlanta. Nowadays, the vast majority of service to the airport is regional jets, minus ultra low-cost carrier Allegiant which utilizes McDonnel Douglas MD-80s. While the city doesn’t receive much of the hype for being a major airport, it is commonly used by both American Airlines and United Airlines when there are storms interrupting service to their hubs in Dallas-Ft. Worth and Houston.
Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport – Baton Rouge, LA (BTR)
Originally serving as a maintenance and supply base for the US Air Force in World War II, the airport has since become a regional feeder to several nearby hubs. At one time, powerhouse Texas International Airlines operated by its infamous leader, Frank Lorenzo, served the airport with both Boeing 727 and 737 service. The airport did see a brief uptick in service following Hurricane Katrina, as much of the service to New Orleans was pulled back until the economy was growing again. Nowadays, both American and United offer regional jet service, whereas Delta operates a combination of mainline and regional jets to its massive hub in Atlanta.