The South Lafourche Leonard Miller, Jr. Airport, located in Galliano, Louisiana, was originally conceived in the early 1970s by interested citizens of Lafourche Parish, who worked in concert with elected officials and the Louisiana Office of Aviation & Public Transportation. They recognized that air transportation would prove to be a valuable element of the transportation system for both Lafourche Parish and the Gulf coast.
Under the Port Commission’s leadership, the South Lafourche Airport has proven to be a boon to both area transportation services and the local economy.
The Greater Lafourche Port Commission acquired the South Lafourche Leonard J. Miller, Jr. Airport from the Lafourche Parish Government in November 2001. The Port Commission saw the South Lafourche Airport’s proximity to Port Fourchon (only 22 miles by land or 10 minutes by air) and recognized the importance of providing air transportation services to facilitate the continued development of the port and offshore industry. In order to allow the airport to further expand its landside and airside facilities, the Port Commission acquired 1,200 acres surrounding the airport, which are slated for industrial development of aviation-related businesses in support of energy activities at Port Fourchon and in the Gulf of Mexico.
Shortly after GLPC acquired the airport, federal and state agencies funded an Airport Master Plan to provide a clear vision of the South Lafourche Airport’s future development needs and its potential contributions to the region. The immediate implementation of short-term improvements included the establishment of onsite security measures, new fueling capabilities, re-surfacing of Airport Road, construction of a large hangar for aircraft storage, and upgrading the runway markings and lighting.
The Port Commission surpassed the original master plan recommendations with projects like extending the runway from 3,800 to 6,500 feet, widening it from 75 to 100 feet, resurfacing it, strengthening it along with the aircraft parking apron to support wheel loads up to 75,000 pounds, installing airfield lighting, signage, and navigational aids (NAVAIDS), and constructing a full-length parallel taxiway.
In addition, a Localizer antenna, Distance Measuring Equipment (DME), Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI), a Glideslope, and an Automated Weather Observation Station (AWOS-3PT) have been installed in order to complete the airport’s Instrument Landing System (ILS). ILS allows pilots to navigate to the airport during horizontal visibility conditions as low as half a mile and vertical visibility conditions as low as 200 feet above ground level (AGL). The terminal apron area was also expanded in order to support plans for a new airport terminal facility. A storm water master plan identified improvements necessary to enhance existing drainage as well as to accommodate future development.
The Airport Master Plan established goals for the continued development and expansion of airport facilities. Moving forward, projects include airport access road improvements, a new airport terminal, implementation of airfield lighting upgrades, and industrial park development.
As a result of the Port Commission’s aggressive improvements, the airport has seen aggressive growth. With the Airport Connector and Bridge Project construction underway, GLPC can only expect that even sunnier skies are ahead for the South Lafourche Leonard Miller, Jr. Airport.