Baton Rouge airport director: ‘We all know we want Southwest Airlines,’ but airport also seeks business development _lowres

 

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.

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