The Louisiana Regional Airport is inching closer to completing its plans to build 20 new hangars to meet growing demand, airport officials said Wednesday.
Shafter Kling, chairman of the Ascension-St. James Airport and Transportation Authority board, said the airport has a waiting list of 68 people who want hangar space at the Burnside general aviation facility at the end of Loosemoore Road.
He said the airport had been planning the hangars for at least three years and already has completed a Federal Aviation Administration-funded project to build hangar taxiways.
But following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Kling said, interest in hangar space has increased even more.
Airport management is "getting all kind of calls for hangars," Kling said.
The airport also saw stepped-up operations following Katrina and became a hub for hurricane rescue and recovery efforts.
The State Bond Commission approved issuing up to $770,000 in revenue bonds for the hangars last week, the officials said, and they are now in the process of preparing to sell the bonds and then bid out the hangars.
But Kling said the board still has to hear next month from advisers handling the bond issue "to tell us if everything is really a sure thing or not."
If all goes according to plan, the airport will build 12 T-hangars and eight "corporate" or "executive" hangars, which Kling described as large T-hangars.
He said bids could go out in January or February and construction could be finished by June. He said the airport currently has 26 T-hangars and one other large hangar.
The FAA doesn't pay for hangars, so the airport has pursued the bonds. The airport plans to use rents generated from the new hangars to pay off the bonds, Kling said.
Board member Rhett Bourgeois said the authority also is planning to vote next month whether to raise rents on existing hangars so they match what will be charged on the new hangars.
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