New terminal at Acadiana Regional Airport to be named in memory of Air Force Brig. Gen. Wiltz Paul Segura _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- A crane lowers a window from the air traffic control tower at the Acadiana Regional Airport on Thursday in New Iberia.The eight 1,000-pound windows were being replaced as the airport prepares to begin accepting commercial flights.

The Iberia Parish Airport Authority announced Tuesday the contract award for the commercial passenger terminal at Acadiana Regional Airport that will be named after the decorated fighter pilot from New Iberia who rose to become an Air Force brigadier general.

E.L. Habetz Builders Inc., of Crowley, will build the terminal for $740,700, airport Executive Director Jason Devillier said. The Airport Authority also will pay for a canopy, terminal barriers and furniture for the terminal at an extra cost of $78,500.

The terminal is designed to be a 1,400-square-foot facility, and construction should take about nine months as airport and parish officials continue efforts to attract a commercial airline.

The Airport Authority started laying the groundwork for commercial service a few years ago, with officials envisioning two scheduled round-trip flights a day three times a week to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

Devillier said talks with airlines were progressing before the bottom dropped out of the economy.

“We were talking to a couple of (airlines) before oil and gas went down,” Devillier said.

The first phase will be a functional, bare-bones terminal that will serve the public until phase II, a bigger terminal to be located where the airport fire station now sits.

The Airport Authority will hold a groundbreaking for the Brig. Gen. Wiltz Paul Segura Memorial Passenger Terminal at 10 a.m. Jan. 28 at the airport on Hangar Drive.

The family of Segura said they’ll attend the event, including the general’s son Paul Segura, who is a member of the Lafayette Airport Commission.

Wiltz Paul Segura died at age 77 in 1999 after a distinguished Air Force career, including 102 combat missions in the China-Burma-India theater, destroying a Japanese bomber and five fighter aircraft. Segura also was shot down twice but parachuted and evaded capture, according to the Air Force website

He flew 125 combat missions in Vietnam and, in 1971, rose to become a U.S. deputy chief of staff for Allied Powers in Belgium.

The award of the terminal project Tuesday is the latest effort to upgrade operations at Acadiana Regional Airport, which is connected to the sprawling, 1,200-acre Airport Industrial Park. The control tower last year was outfitted with radar after years of air traffic controllers guiding in aircraft using binoculars.

The airport’s runway, the longest in the region at 8,001 feet, is about to undergo $3.3 million in improvements. The work will take eight to 10 months to complete.