Turk File

Lafayette Regional flies high in first quarter

April passenger counts shatter monthly record, increasing 8.5 percent from last year.

Lafayette Regional Airport had the busiest April in its history. For the month, passengers totaled 44,786 — that’s 3,493 more people getting on and off of planes than April 2014.

Those numbers provided a significant boost to the first quarter of this year, helping to send business up by 14,415 passengers or nearly 10 percent. The number of passengers flying in and out of the local airport for the first quarter totaled 160,036 compared with 145,621 for the comparable period last year.

The direct flight to Denver, which launched in August 2014, is contributing to the increase, airport officials say.

“We’d like to thank all the travelers who came in from out of town to go to Festival International and all the volunteers who made it something worth flying for,” Lafayette Airport Commission Chairman Matt Cruse said in a press release. “We know every traveler has a choice when making travel plans, and we are grateful so many are choosing to fly Lafayette.”

Load factors, the number of passengers flying on an airline compared to the number of seats available, continued to be high in April for all three carriers. Leading the way was Delta Connection/Atlanta with 86 percent of seats filled. American Eagle/Dallas followed with 84 percent, and United Airlines/Houston and Denver had 78 percent filled.

The airport is in the midst of planning for a $90 million expansion, which includes additional parking and a new terminal, much of which will be funded by a temporary sales tax voters approved Dec. 6 to start in April and expire Nov. 30.