Chennault Is ‘Emerging National Aerospace Hub’

Thrive magazine

Chennault International Airport is an emerging national aerospace hub that has kept military, corporate and personal aircraft in tip-top condition for more than three decades.

Much of the industry is already familiar with Chennault and the Lake Charles region, given its first-class tenant partners — including Northrop Grumman, LandLocked Aviation Services and Citadel Completions.

In addition to the world-class maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work done for years by its tenant partners, Chennault is also home to non-aerospace manufacturing and service businesses.

Chennault has a 10,701-foot-long runway, the longest at any airport between Houston and Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is capable of handling all aircraft flying today and has ample adjacent concrete for parking.

Chennault is served by an accredited, contracted air traffic control tower. FBO services are provided by Million Air.

Even with all the development at Chennault, there’s still room to grow. There are more than a dozen tracts of land totaling nearly 1,000 acres available for development.


Chennault is Louisiana’s reigning Airport of the Year as judged by the state Department of Transportation and Development.

It also earned the designation as the 2021 Southwest Region leader in Louisiana Economic Development’s ranking of top achievements statewide.

“The willingness to change and look for opportunities outside of the norm is critical to remaining relevant in our dynamic world today,” said Chennault Executive Director Kevin Melton. “Chennault remains a game-changer — we continue to work toward new tenant partners, more development and more jobs.”


Projects under way at Chennault International Airport are expanding the complex’s profile in serving aerospace and other needs.

One effort is the construction of a $4 million, 10,000-square-foot facility that represents Chennault’s entry into the air cargo sector.

Construction of the air cargo pass-through facility is its latest initiative to expand and diversify the job-producing business/aerospace complex.

“Chennault offers relief to airlines and freight forwarders who need space and attention — as a low-cost alternative to larger markets where expense, ground delays, and airspace delays slow delivery,” said David Whitaker, who is an advisor for the initiative.

The facility is funded by $3 million in state capital outlay funding, with the Chennault International Airport Authority paying the rest. Construction will be completed this summer.

A tenant partner is sought for the facility.

As the facility is being built, ongoing discussions are planned with potential ground handling partners on such related issues as ramp handling, warehouse operations and securing unique ground equipment to service large aircraft.


Another project at Chennault is a new facility for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Also on the horizon is a $24 million, 60,0000-square foot training and readiness committee for the Louisiana National Guard.

As these projects get under way, Chennault has completed the widening of the main entrance of the complex — by adding signage, lighting and video security.