Starting soon, Lafayette Regional Airport and the Transportation Security Administration will be opening an additional security line to deal with heavy traffic on early morning flights.

The new TSA security line should be open some time in the first quarter 2020. The move comes almost two years earlier than projected as officials initially said a second line would not be added until the new terminal opened in late 2021.

“The addition of a second security line at Lafayette Regional now will have a positive impact on travelers waiting in line for early morning flights,” said airport Executive Director Steven Picou. “With first flights departing from Lafayette to Houston, Dallas and Atlanta all leaving within close proximity of each other, the volume of passengers processing through one security line has been an ongoing concern.

"When passengers arrived between an hour and a half to two hours before their flights, we find they have usually been able to make their originating flights," Picou said. "When they arrived less than 90 minutes before their departure time, their chance of missing their flight from Lafayette, and potentially missing connections to other flights from the three hub airports served by United, American and Delta Airlines from LFT, greatly increases.”

Construction is needed to accommodate the second security line and is estimated to cost around $150,000. Officials say the airport is funding the project from current operational funds.

Picou also wanted to thank the TSA for working with them on the solution by transferring screening equipment removed from the New Orleans International Airport following their expansion last year and repurposing it for the Lafayette Regional Airport. 

When the new terminal opens, the new facility's design has two lines with the ability to add a third.

Email Dan Boudreaux at dboudreaux@theadvocate.com.