Baton Rouge Airport Celebrates Start of Daily Flights to Washington, D.C. with Special Send Off

June 2, 2023

Jun. 1—The long-awaited daily flights between Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C. started before sunrise Thursday morning.

The inaugural American Airlines nonstop flight from Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport to Washington Reagan National Airport capped off a push from local political and business leaders that lasted more than a decade.

"Connecting the capital of Louisiana with our nation's capital will stimulate more tourists and business travelers to fly directly into Baton Rouge," Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said in a statement. "This service has also been long sought by business, government, and leisure travelers in the Baton Rouge area. It will elevate our economic development at home and enhance our impact in the nation's capital."

The direct flights are the result of a deal between East Baton Rouge's city-parish government and the airline that includes about $2 million in revenue guarantees from local, state and federal sources if the route underperforms, said Cleve Dunn Jr., a Metro Council member and Baton Rouge Metro Airport commissioner.

Airport commissioners had been trying to build the fund and establish the direct service for about a decade. In 2011, $340,000 from U.S. Department of Transportation was awarded to help secure non-stop service between Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C.

Then the airport received a $1 million Small Community Air Service Development Program grant in 2021 that was matched with $200,000 from the Greater Baton Rouge Economic Partnership with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Baton Rouge Republican, said the investments will help make travel easier for all Louisiana residents.

"The new non-stop service between our capital and the nation's capital is a sign of the growing economic importance of the Baton Rouge region," Cassidy said in a statement.

BRAC paid for the grant match through a $1 million appropriation from the legislature in 2021 that also went to the airport's fund.

"Businesses should support this new direct flight from American by encouraging all their employees' to take this direct flight for their D.C. travel as much as possible," said Adam Knapp, BRAC president and CEO, in a statement.

The flights will be operated with a 76-seat Embraer 175 jet with first-class, premium economy, and economy seating.

Flights will take about 2 hours and 44 minutes, departing Baton Rouge at 5:42 a.m. Central Time and landing in Arlington, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from the District of Columbia, at 9:20 a.m. Eastern Time. Flights from Reagan will depart at 7:52 p.m. Eastern Time and land at 9:41 p.m. Central Time.

Jim Caldwell, a spokesman for Baton Rouge Metro Airport, said last month demand for the flights has been good, similar to what American is seeing in other cities where it is introducing nonstop Washington trips, such as Madison, Wisconsin, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


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