Aviators will get the chance to visit St. Landry Parish Airport and meet its newly named manager, David Allen, at an aircraft fly-in event Saturday.
Parish President Bill Fontenot hired Allen in April to help to bolster revenues at the airport, which has struggled financially in the past. In the first half of 2018, the airport was operating under a $20,000 deficit.
Saturday’s event, which starts at 10 a.m., will allow state and regional aviators to fly their planes to the airport for refreshments, tours of the facility and fellowship.
“The main thing we want to express is that we are attempting to put the airport back on the map,” Allen said. “We’re expecting about 50 or so aircraft to fly in, see what we have to offer here in terms of runways, terminal facilities and fuel in mainly to show that we are back in business.”
Allen said the airport can accommodate landings and takeoffs of single- and twin-engine aircraft, in addition to small and midsize private jets.
“You can bring in the basic corporate jets here,” said Allen. “We have a lot of runway space for a regional airport. One runway is 6,000 feet, while another is slightly more than 3,000 feet, so the business jet aircraft are able to land here.”
Allen said he realizes that increased fuel sales are significant as a revenue stream that will eventually determine the financial success of the airport.
“One of the first things that I have done in order to make the airport more profitable is to establish fuel prices that are competitive,” said Allen.“We’re going to be checking the fuel rates at other airports in the region.
“At this point, we have the lowest prices for aviation fuel in the area as well as upgrading our services. Since doing that, we are seeing significant increases for our April and May fuel sales at the same time.”
Regular and jet aviation fuel are both available at the airport, Allen said.
According to a first quarter profit and loss statement presented to the council during a June committee meeting, the airport recorded fuel sales of $31,276 through April 19. In the 2019 operating budget approved by the council, the airport is expected to generate $155,552 in fuel sales this year.
Parish government has also collected $12,350 of the $33,405 budgeted in 2019 for airport hangar rentals, according to the statement presented to the council by finance director Amanda Cain.
Allen said about 46 aircraft are annually located inside the various airport hangars.