Galliano airport booming: Facility setting records for passengers

Fourchon pushing forward: Work slow, but hopes still high for the future
September 27, 2017
Don’t count out the oil and gas industry just yet
September 27, 2017
Fourchon pushing forward: Work slow, but hopes still high for the future
September 27, 2017
Don’t count out the oil and gas industry just yet
September 27, 2017

The oil and gas industry is in a funk, so obviously work at the South Lafourche Leonard Miller Jr. Airport has slowed immensely, right?


Even in the midst of some tough economic times, work at the airport is continuing to set records as more and more workers are stepping foot on local soil before being sent to jobsites around the Southeast.

Port Fourchon Executive Director Chett Chiasson said work at the airport is booming – one of the lone positive markers in an oil and gas industry that’s been in a rut for several years.

Chiasson said 2017 is on pace to be a record year at the airport in terms of the number of passengers that fly in and out of the growing facility.

“You would think that it’d be slow,” Chiasson said when asked about the airport. “But it’s not, actually. The airport is busy, busy, busy, busy. There’s a great deal of traffic. We’re on pace to break the records for passengers and operations – records that were set last year. Things there are going really good. The movement is constant.”

The airport’s growth is marked – a series of victories that is now 16 years and running.

The airport was once under control of parish government – a relationship that ended in 2001 when the Greater Lafourche Port Commission took it under its wing.

Since that time, air traffic has increased by more than 4,000 percent, according to statistics on Fourchon’s website.

In 2016, the airport had 110,000 passengers flown in and out of it.

This year, the numbers are expected to be even greater.

“We have over 8,000 vehicles a month on average traveling here,” Chiasson said. “It’s been busy. The numbers are staying up. There’s no slowdown in sight for those guys back there.”

There are specific reasons for the upturn – namely one huge investment by an oil and gas conglomerate, which has changed the game for the airport.

Chevron completed a $29 million project at the airport – a complete overhaul of the company’s airport operations that has moved an additional 6,000 workers through the airport per month.

The project is complete, and Chevron now operates all of its Gulf of Mexico operations out of the Galliano facility.

Warner Williams, the vice president of Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico business unit, said the investment shows the company’s commitment to the communities in southeast Louisiana.

“This facility upgrade is proof of our dedication to the community and it’s proof that we recognize the Gulf of Mexico is the cornerstone of what we do in our business,” Williams said. “The people in this area are good people. There is no better place for us to have this airbase than in Galliano.”

Lafourche councilman Jerry LaFont agrees. He said during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the expansion that the parish is blessed to have a project of this size in its area.

“It’s a big thing for us,” LaFont said. “It’s great to see the commitment they’ve made to this area.”

And other companies have followed suit.

Chiasson said in recent years, Rotocraft Leasing LLC has expanded its operations, which has greatly increased airport traffic.

“They’ve added more aircraft and more pads,” Chiasson said. “They’ve continued to get bigger.”

And other oilfield operations that have maybe had three or four airport sites have shrunk operations, choosing Galliano to handle all of the business.

“I think what we’re seeing is some consolidation there,” Chiasson said. “And they have chosen the Galliano Airport to do their work out of, which obviously makes us very proud.”

Looking toward the future, Chiasson said the airport is continuing to look for ways to get better, including increased lighting and doing things to create more space.

But with such a track record for recent success, Chiasson said the airport is truly one of the rare rays of sunshine in a clouded oil and gas climate.

“They’ve done some great things,” Chiasson said. “The growth that they’ve had and some of the numbers we’ve seen are really incredible.” •

Galliano airport

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