Caire: Port hosts airport managers state conference

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, August 5, 2015

“LAMA,” or the Louisiana Airport Managers and Associates, sponsors an annual gathering for its members that brings together the managers, directors and representatives of Louisiana’s 68 public airports.

This year’s conference was recently hosted by the Port of South Louisiana at the French Quarter’s Omni Royal Orleans Hotel in New Orleans. This year’s event, which ran from Sunday evening/July 12 through Wednesday morning/July 15, was attended by over 200 aviation professionals and featured nearly 30 exhibitors ranging from airport engineers to project planning firms.

Manufacturers of equipment used on airports, such as runway lighting, safety systems and operations support were on hand to demonstrate their products to the attendees.

The FAA’s Flight Standards District Office, located in Baton Rouge and referred to in the industry as the “FSDO,” presented seminars on the latest developments in flight operations and airport regulatory compliance.

The FAA regional office for the Southwestern United States Regional Office, which is located in Fort Worth, Texas, and regulates Louisiana airports, was represented by its staff of project managers who administer federal grants known as Airport Improvement Projects to all airports for their eligible operations to support the local communities they serve.

Also in attendance was the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development-Aviation Section, headquartered in Baton Rouge, which oversees state regulatory compliance and grants issued to airports by the state in support of eligible capital improvement projects such as runway maintenance and operation.

The Port’s Executive Director, Mr. Paul Aucoin, invited U.S. Rep. Garrett Graves (R-La.) to deliver the introduction and welcoming remarks. Representative Graves emphasized the economic impact of business, commercial and general aviation within the state, generating over $1 billion dollars in revenues.

The Congressman also emphasized that by developing St. John the Baptist Airport in Reserve, the Port of South Louisiana is now truly positioned as an intermodal operation combining water, rail and ground transportation, and aviation to support economic development in St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. James Parishes.

Also in attendance were Port Commission President Paul Robichaux and Commissioners Joey Murray, Chairman of the Port’s Aviation Committee; Stanley Bazile, Commission Secretary; Raymond Fryoux, Commission Vice-President; and Louis Joseph, Commission Treasurer.

“The conference in New Orleans was a tremendous success,” Aucoin said. “Spouses were treated to a tour of the River Parish attractions while the convention was in session.

The Port of South Louisiana was honored to be this year’s host, and we look forward to the opportunity to do it again in the future.”

Louisiana features a mix of commercial, business and general aviation airports. Of the 68 facilities, only seven provide scheduled commercial airline service.

The remainder of the airports operating within the state support their communities by providing a port of entry to businesses operating their own aircraft, or professionals who charter planes to locations where airlines do not fly. The airport operated by the Port of South Louisiana in Reserve is a prime example of this vibrant economic activity.

Business and recreational aviation make up the majority of aircraft operations in the state.

Vincent Caire serves as Port of South Louisiana’s St. John airport director. He can be reached by email at