Airport of the Year: Louisiana
Every annum the Federal Aviation Administration looks for the one airport in each state that has implemented the utmost in creativity, standards of safety and operations according to FAA operations guidelines.
Chennault International Airport, operated by the Chennault Airport Authority employs some 1,500 persons and contributes some $300 million in economic impact in SWLA, and has been named "Louisiana Airport of the Year" by the FAA.
Most locals know Chennault as the site of periodic local airshows, and going way back if you've been around long enough, as a sometimes illicit drag strip.
Chennault Awarded Based on FAA Criteria
One of the creative solutions that earned the distinction was Chennault's plan to create an alternative runway by widening and improving a parallel taxiway, which will be followed by a major rehabilitation of the main runway, which will in time create two first-class runways.
Chennault can land planes of almost any size, including Air Force One and serve as an emergency landing site for NASA's space shuttles when they flew..
Airpark Named After Famous WWII Lt. General
Claire Chennault the airport's namesake was born in Commerce, Texas Sept. 6, 1893 and lived until July 27, 1958. He was born in Texas but grew up in Louisiana in Gilbert. Chennault was instrumental in the early days of flying in the development of the 'pursuit plane' or fighter.
Prior to the United States involvement in WWII following the sneak attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, Chennault commanded all-volunteer 'Flying Tigers' in the south of China, as China then an ally was already involved in the war with Japan. Later his area of focus increased to China-Burma-India theater of the war.
Chennault died of lung cancer in New Orleans in July 1958, he is interred at Arlington National Cemetary.