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Baton Rouge Metro Airport

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Airport director: ‘We all know we want Southwest Airlines,’ but airport also seeks business      

The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport director said this week that the airport wants to become a hotbed for economic development in the wake of difficulty recruiting airlines and adding flights.

“We all know we want Southwest Airlines, we want direct nonstop service to every community, so does every other airport in the United States,” said Airport Director Anthony Marino. “That doesn’t mean that the airport doesn’t have an impact.”

Marino cited a study from November that said the airport had $1.1 billion in economic output in Baton Rouge. That statistic is being highlighted in new television and radio advertisements that encourage people to fly out of Baton Rouge.

Within the airport itself, airport officials have recently increased WiFi speeds to make it friendlier to business travelers.

And on airport property, Marino said he continues to eye development opportunities in aviation business park, where the Coca Cola bottling plant and All Star Chevrolet North are among some of the tenants.

“It’s not only new airline service, we have 2,500 acres of land,” Marino said.

Plans are in the works to build an access road to make the aviation park businesses north of the airport more accessible. The road would serve properties south of Blount Road.

Marino said the airport is ready to go to the final design phase for the road, and the Airport Commission approved a $210,649 contract this week for the designs.

“Having that road makes that site even more attractive,” said Airport Commission Chairman Jared Smith.     http://blogs.theadvocate.com/cityhallbuzz/2016/02/03/airport-director-we-all-know-we-want-southwest-airlines-but-airport-also-seeks-business-development/

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That's a pretty good location. I just wish it didn't have to block the view of the carpool canopy but that's not too serious. Hopefully the walkway to the airport will be covered.

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On 2/4/2016 at 10:31 AM, dan326 said:

Neat! Where did you find that pic? I wonder where exactly it'll be located.

Immediately to the left right before you pull into the departure drop off.  Currently part of this is used as airport employee parking.

And yes, I think this is a very good idea.   I'm surprised they didn't try this a decade ago.

On 2/4/2016 at 0:22 PM, dan326 said:

That's a pretty good location. I just wish it didn't have to block the view of the carpool canopy but that's not too serious. Hopefully the walkway to the airport will be covered.

I'm sure it will be covered.  If not...it's probably less than a minute walk from the hotel to the ticket desk and just across from the parking deck anyways.

Baton Rouge is one of the most pleasant airports to fly out of now that they've renovated.   I'd prefer a few more restaurants and a Delta Sky Lounge, but that's not a big deal.   Security is painless, parking is easy (and cheap), and Delta's MD88, A319, and CRJ-900 jets out of BTR are upgrade machines even for people with gold medallion status.

Edited by cajun

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Baton Rouge expansion a possibility for upstart Glo Airlines, but not anytime soon        

Glo Airlines, the New Orleans-based regional carrier that began service just three months ago, is expanding its service along the Gulf Coast, adding flights between New Orleans and Destin-Fort Walton, Florida, as well as between Little Rock and Destin-Fort Walton. The new service, announced earlier this month, will run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from March 25 to Sept. 5.

Glo founder and CEO Trey Fayard says the upstart airline, which currently services New Orleans, Little Rock, Shreveport and Memphis with three, Saab 340B aircraft, has plans to expand still more and would like to eventually add Baton Rouge to its list of destinations, but has no immediate plans to do so.

“We see potential in Baton Rouge,” Fayard says. “I’ve had extensive discussions with Anthony Marino and Jim Caldwell at the airport there. We stay in good communication … maybe in phase two of our expansion you’ll see Baton Rouge, but not immediately.”

Glo was founded to provide service to underserved markets in the Gulf South region. As the nation’s major air carriers have merged over the past two decades, small and medium-sized markets have been squeezed out, leaving travelers in those cities with increasingly fewer options.

For Baton Rouge, the problem is particularly acute. A recent study identified passenger “leakage” to New Orleans and other airports as one of the biggest problems—and one that is self perpetuating: the more passengers use New Orleans, the less demand exists in Baton Rouge for additional service, which is what airline want to see before adding flights to a market.

More than 60% of travelers in the Baton Rouge area opt to use airports outside the city, according to the report.

Still, Fayard believes Baton Rouge Metro Airport can develop a niche as a medium-sized airport catering to business travelers.

“Baton Rouge has two things going for it that will never really go away—the state capital and LSU—and it’s really thought of as more of a business destination than a leisure one,” Fayard says. “Being a business-focused airport is not a bad thing because you can command more premium fares. It’s just a matter of attracting the flights to where people want to go.      https://www.businessreport.com/article/baton-rouge-expansion-possibility-upstart-glo-airlines-not-anytime-soon

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When I traveled for work I looked at BTR. Since I lived close to an even distance time wise I almost always chose MSY. Odds were good I could get a non-stop to where I was going. BTR though is a very nice airport. Short walk. Cheap parking. Minimal security. 

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If BTR can pull in some smaller airlines that offer direct flights to major cities it can really help bring in more people to the airport.  I would love to see this airline come to BTR even though it doesn't offer flights to major cities at least at this point.

Edited by greg225

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Glo Airlines toying with city-hopping strategy in Louisiana, could be the ticket to get airline in Baton Rouge  

Glo Airlines, an upstart regional airline service out of New Orleans, is set to announce soon an expansion into several new markets, but it does not seem Baton Rouge will be on that list.

New Orleans attorney Caroline Fayard, who helped start Glo Airlines with her brother Trey Fayard, says the complication with adding the Baton Rouge Metro Airport to Glo’s list of airports is the short driving distance between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

However, she said Glo is toying with the idea of adopting a model used by other smaller airlines in which planes hop from city to city in a given state or region.

“We’re open to expanding in Louisiana and trying to see if that model will work the for the current climate, but right now we’re probably focused mainly on direct connections that are an hour-and-a-half, an hour of flying time,” Fayard told members of the Press Club of Baton Rouge today.

The issue of the short distance between Baton Rouge and New Orleans has hampered the Baton Rouge Metro Airport’s ability to add more flights and airlines. Many people travel to New Orleans to fly out of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport because of the added offerings. A report issued late last year identified the so-called “leakage” as one of the main reasons for the Baton Rouge airport’s troubles. The number of travelers flying out of Baton Rouge in 2015 dropped by 4%, which airport officials blamed on a decrease in seating capacity.

Glo Airlines started with the premise of connecting Shreveport and New Orleans via a direct flight so businessmen and women traveling back and forth to both cities would not need to spend more than five hours traversing the state’s highways or taking a connecting flight from Houston or Atlanta, Fayard said.

Now, Glo Airlines serves New Orleans, Shreveport, Memphis, Little Rock, and Destin-Fort Walton Beach with three Saab 340B airplanes that hold about 26 passengers after Glo workers pulled four seats from each plane to give passengers more leg room.

Trey Fayard told Daily Report in February that he sees potential in Baton Rouge but has no immediate plans to expand to the Capital City.

Fayard also talked about her work crafting the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill settlement and her campaign for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. David Vitter.

Fayard says she spent more than 3,000 hours working with a plethora of attorneys on the 1,800-page BP settlement agreement that covers five states, covers a $2.3 billion seafood settlement fund and has paid out $8 billion so far.

“I think we did a remarkable job,” Fayard said. “From my standpoint, I am really proud that we were able to get what we were able to get.”    https://www.businessreport.com/article/glo-airlines-toying-city-hopping-strategy-louisiana-ticket-get-airline-baton-rouge

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Anyone know why the airport hasn't extended runway 4L/22R to 8200 ft yet?  It was in the 2006 Master Plan....they even relocated Plank Road for it.   No expansion.  

 

Would the parish be willing to pay a small tax to help fund airport improvements or even direct subsidies for more non stop flights?  

Edited by cajun

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With the rumors circulating about Southwest possibly adding BTR to their destinations, it may be time for the airport to consider expansion.   

It looks like they could easily fit another 4 gates without any major reconfiguration....just by adding to concourse B and expanding the apron.   Given how lose this is to the parking deck, they could also probably provide an additional security line and baggage claim for a new carrier.

airport_2.jpg

 

Even with this expansion, there would still be fewer gates than Tulsa or Little Rock and equal number of gates as Pensacola.   Just to highlight that this is not a "pie in the sky" goal.  It's attainable, and it wouldn't interfere with MSY's effort to attract a hub carrier.    

I honestly can't imagine Southwest needing more than 2-3 gates at BTR.   More than likely they'll start out with a single gate. They have 3 gates at Birmingham airport.  One gate at Panama City Beach.  One gate at Pensacola.    I do anticipate that their existence in Baton Rouge would force United and Delta's hand in adding service to another hub for each.   

New Orleans is almost a mini-hub for Southwest with 6 gates.

Edited by cajun

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Did not see this posted:

Baton Rouge airport leaders push for direct flights to Chicago, D.C.

http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/article_29153100-c3cb-11e6-811f-3307a5b3e728.html

Though plans are still up in the air, Baton Rougeans may soon be able to fly direct to the Windy City, Tinsel Town or Sin City.

In the inaugural “state of the airport” address, newly-appointed aviation chief Ralph Hennessy said staff at Baton Rouge Metro Airport are trying to win back direct routes to the nation’s four largest cities and popular tourist destinations Orlando and Las Vegas.

Three of the “Big Four” airlines currently serve Baton Rouge – United, Delta and American. Officials have long wanted to lure Southwest, and now efforts are moving in a positive direction. Hennessy described the change by saying that before, Baton Rouge called Southwest to talk, and now, Southwest calls Baton Rouge.

Baton Rouge airport hopes to land Southwest airlines

http://www.wbrz.com/news/baton-rouge-airport-hopes-to-land-southwest-airlines/

BATON ROUGE – Airport officials said they are trying to woo Southwest Airlines but stopped short of saying there's a deal in place to get one of the country's most popular airlines to land commercial flights in Baton Rouge.

The interim director of the airport said at a discussion about the airport's future, Baton Rouge used to not be in the business model of Southwest. However, Ralph Hennessy said, the business model is changing. The airport hopes meetings to secure the airline will take off.

“I don't need the headline to be 'Southwest will be here.' What I am saying is, for a long time Baton Rouge has not fit into their business model … but, their model has changed,” Hennessy said Friday morning.

“We're trying to… fit into the Southwest network.”

Landing Southwest would be a big get for the Baton Rouge airport – Capital Region travelers looking to book cheap flights on the low-cost airline routinely drive to the airport in New Orleans where there are numerous daily flights to 99 other U.S. cities serviced by Southwest. It recently added Cuba to its destinations, too.

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16 minutes ago, dan326 said:

Nice! I hope it work out for then/us.

Hope so to.  There is an argument to be made that direct competition with MSY would be harmful for the state as a whole.   We need MSY to be a focus city with nonstops to Europe.   There is no question of that.   

What is not acceptable is letting MSY handle 60% of the Baton Rouge market.   It's been that way for so long that if all of those passengers returned to BTR, the airport could not handle them all even with additional gates.   Baton Rouge needs the New Orleans airport.....but it also needs BTR to actually serve the needs of the local community better.    That means more non stops from the legacy carriers to new hubs in the mid west and east coast.   It means new service from Southwest.   It probably also means an expansion of BTR's B concourse, baggage claim, and security check in areas.

BTR can expand, add service, and serve the local needs better without MSY even noticing the difference.    There is no question that Southwest Airlines would do very well here.   I don't think anyone expects BTR to be a hub airport, but the service that exists there today is not acceptable.   60% of the flying public in the Baton Rouge market flies out of MSY.   

Southwest adding service to Chicago and Houston (Hobby) would be HUGE for BTR.   Baltimore-Washington would be AMAZING.    That's an attainable goal.  

 

 

 

 

The more I think about it, the more obvious it becomes that BTR was not well managed in the past couple of decades.   With the new director in place, I hope that we can get Southwest service.  

Edited by cajun
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I think BTR would do aot better if it had a direct flight to the midwest (Chicago), west coast (LA) amd the north east (NYC). 

There is a discount airline called Allegiant that flys between Phoenix or Vegas to smaller airports. 

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On 2/10/2017 at 0:08 PM, greg225 said:

Washington D.C. best chance for new direct flight from Baton Rouge this year                                              https://www.businessreport.com/article/washington-d-c-best-chance-new-direct-flight-baton-rouge-year

American Airlines offers nonstop between smaller cities and Reagan International.     Huntsville, Lansing, Knoxville, and Jackson have non stops to that airport on American Eagle CRJ-700s.   Seems like an easy goal for Baton Rouge.   

Honestly surprised it isn't offered already.

American Airlines has been floundering for years but they are trying to beef up their domestic market.  Weekday non stops to DC from places like Baton Rouge and Little Rock would be a good way to do that.    If they do it right, they could end up earning a lot of market share in Baton Rouge from Delta Airlines.

Edited by cajun
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American Airlines to use larger jets for flights at BTR airport

http://www.wbrz.com/news/american-airlines-to-use-larger-jets-for-flights-at-btr-airport/

 

American Airlines is starting to get more aggressive finally.   Delta has been serving BTR with Boeing 717, MD88s, and sometimes Airbus A319s in addition to their CRJ900s.    I'd really like to see United increase service to ORD (Chicago) and American add DCA (Washington) to their schedule in Baton Rouge.   They are both easily within range for CRJ-700 service.  Preferably at least once daily.  

Looking forward to seeing the new Bombardier C-series at BTR soon from Delta as well:  http://news.delta.com/delta-orders-state-art-fuel-efficient-bombardier-c-series

Edited by cajun
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