April 6, 2023 |
OPELOUSAS — St. Landry Parish Government is touting the improvements to the St. Landry Parish Airport, including increased revenue and new grants for airport infrastructure.
In an announcement, Monday, Jessie Bellard, St. Landry Parish president, said the financial numbers for the St. Landry Parish Airport, northwest of Opelousas, have improved drastically since 2019.
“If you look at land leases, fuel sales, hangar rentals, and even the amount of federal and state funds we’ve brought in, we are in a much better place than we were just four or five years ago,” said Bellard. “In some cases, we’ve nearly doubled our intake over the last couple of years.”
Total revenue at the parish airport increased from $300,000 in 2019 to over $500,000 in 2022. Parish Government took in $300,793 in 2019, $394,561 in 2020, $406,847 in 2021, and $503,939 in 2022. The parish is predicting another increase in the airport’s income this year.
The airport also saw earnings from its land leases increase as well. In 2019, the parish airport brought in slightly over $8,000 from land leases.
Today, the income from the leases is $23,000.
“We’ve also worked much harder at getting state and federal funds for our airport,” said Bellard. “We’ve just received $3.4 million in federal appropriations to make safety improvements to our runways and other infrastructure and to build a new public hangar.”
The $3.4 million will allow for repairs to the runways and taxiways, restriping the runways and allowing the airport to make other improvements, and constructing a new hangar for public use.
Bellard added that hangar leases have improved from eight in 2019 to 19 today, and there is currently a waiting list for hangar space.
“We’ve seen the number of aircraft based at the parish airport improve, as well,” said Bellard. “In 2019, we had 30 airplanes on-site. Today that number is 48.”
AVGAS and Jet Fuel sales have increased revenue at the airport, improving from $175,000 a year in 2019 to just over $400,000 in 2023. With more airplanes and more traffic at the airport, fuel sales have also increased $175,000 in 2019, $200,000 in 2020, $279,000 in 2021, $345,000 in 2022, and are projected to be $408,000 in 2023.
“We’re making progress at the airport,” said Bellard. “We’ve increased revenues and services, and we’re securing the funds we need to make the airport safer for those flying in and those living nearby.”
The airport is in the final stages of an $800,000 state-funded fence project and another state-funded project to reconstruct the fuel apron. Airport officials also work with the FAA and the state to fund clearing obstructions along the runways’ flight paths.