More T-Hangars are Teed Up at the Port

In light of increasing demand, The Port of South Louisiana wasted little time ordering up another batch of 10 T-Hangars for lease at the Executive Regional Airport

In 2018, Port of South Louisiana officials secured funding and commissioned construction of 10 rentable T-Hangars to store planes at the Executive Regional Airport, hoping to bring in new tenants and increased traffic for the airport.

Much to their pleasant surprise, the moment this project was formally announced and made public, the number of interested aviators far surpassed the soon-to-be available units for their aircraft. The demand surpassed even the Port’s own expectations.

It was a great problem to have, but one that still required action if the Port’s full potential could be realized. The solution? Build another 10 T-Hangars right across the apron from the original 10. 

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“When we laid out the plans to build the first ten units, our airport director at the time put out a notice or survey to gauge interest in the number of aircraft owners who would like to rent out a hangar,” says Dale Hymel, the Port’s Chief Project and Planning Officer. “Well, 24 people expressed interest, and we were only building 10, so we immediately had a Waiting List before the first T-Hangar was even constructed.

“As soon as the initial 10 were operational and rented out, we sought funding and explored the idea of making another batch of 10. We got right back to it.”

Earlier this year, construction began on the $1.8 million project at the Executive Regional Airport. Roughly one-third of funding was covered by a Department of Transportation grant.

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Unlike a traditional box hangar, these “Nested T-Hangars” allow for the tail sections of the aircraft to sit in the center of the structure, which provides a more cost-effective use of the space. In this scenario, the overall length of the hangar can be reduced. Same goes for the apron space, and therefore, the total cost of building materials.  

T Hangar Construction @ Kaps

Furthermore, Professional Engineering Consultants of Baton Rouge purposely designed these 10 new T-Hangars to handle the dimensions of the aircraft owned by tenants on the original Waiting List. That includes Cessna 340s, a Beechcraft 55 Baron, Daher TBM 900, among others. 

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When these 10 new T-Hangars are operational in December 2022, they’ll represent the third publicly-accessible aircraft storage structure built at the Airport in the past decade. Prior to the construction of the original 10 T-Hangars, the Port commissioned an 8,000-sq. foot ‘Transient Hangar’ back in 2017 that can be rented out on a temporary basis to serve the needs of travelers stopping in the area for a short time—an Aircraft Hotel, if you will. 

When the Port acquired the operational rights to the airport and unveiled its “Master Plan” in late 2011, the desire for upgrades and improvements (like these hangars) was done to attract more aerial traffic.

“The Executive Regional Airport is one of only two port-owned airports in the state of Louisiana,” says Commissoner Joey Murray, Chair of the Aviation Committee. “We have the unique ability to not only attract avaitors from throughout the region, but to also expand our operations to make the Port of South Louisiana a logistical hub for the entire region.” 

Port of South Louisiana CEO Paul Matthews echoes that the potential for even more growth is already present at the Port and, while the plan for increasing capacity for aerial traffic has come to fruition, Port officials aren’t done considering ways to upgrade the airport and expand operations.

“The Master Improvement Plan at the airport has really transformed this overall facility in a matter of years,” Matthews says. “But there are additional steps to take and challenges to figure out. For instance, expanding the runway further to the north another 1,000 or 1,500 feet would open up the possibly of being more than just a general aviation facility (people owning private planes, personal travel, the occasional corporate jet flying executives to check their facilities up and down the river).

We have the land available to keeping build out, which would allow us to become a ‘Light Cargo’ airport, as well. That would allow us to take further advantage of the airport’s proximity to our terminal on the Mississippi River, about a mile away. As far as next goals and next steps for the airport, that would certainly be one of them.”

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