Business Aviation Helping to Drive Growth at Louisiana Airport
March 11, 2015
Shreveport Downtown Airport (DTN) has served the needs of travelers in Louisiana’s third-largest city for more than 80 years, first as a commercial airline hub and, most recently, as the largest community airport in a five-state area. Since the late 1990s, the airport has rebounded from a period of relatively slow activity to become a vital and vibrant part of the region’s greater transportation network, and now local officials are working on a capital improvement plan to accommodate growth at DTN over the next decade.
Among the most important goals is expanding the airport’s crosswind runway (5/23) from its present 3,200-foot length to between 5,000 and 5,500 feet to accommodate a wider diversity of aircraft. Other priorities include added hangar space, improved taxiway and ramp access, and other infrastructure improvements.
“The Shreveport Airport Authority is really proud of this airport,” said DTN airport manager Stacy Kuba, A.A.E. “This facility had been overlooked for years, but it’s found its place, and our growth reflects that. We’re continuing to take active steps to improve our facilities and runways, while also addressing the needs of our based operators.”
Shreveport Downtown Airport enjoys a strong aircraft rental, charter and maintenance infrastructure, and is home to flight schools for Louisiana Tech University and LeTourneau University. More than 300 aircraft are based at the field, including a growing base of recreational pilots and a robust business aviation community. Of the approximately 120 hangars now in place at DTN, Kuba noted that roughly half are home to business aviation clients.
Several aerobatic pilots also call DTN home, and the facility is one of the few remaining GA airports with an on-field aerobatic “box.” Surrounded on three sides by the Red River, DTN also lies under airspace for both Shreveport Regional Airport and Barksdale Air Force Base; B-52 Stratofortresses lumbering overhead are common sights.
Having a diverse range of recreational, commercial and military traffic in the area demonstrates the importance of the field’s contract control tower, which was threatened with closure in 2013.
“We fought like crazy to save it,” Kuba said of the tower. “I don’t know how we could have functioned with it.”
Steve Hadley, NBAA’s director of regional programs and the Association’s Southwest regional representative, said the planned improvements at DTN should make a good airport even better.
“DTN is an historic airport, with a rich aviation legacy, and its proximity to Shreveport’s business district makes it an ideal choice for business aviation users,” Hadley said.