Local Support Needed to Safeguard Vital Air Link and Economic Growth
BATON ROUGE, La. - A mere five months post the inauguration of a nonstop flight from Baton Rouge to Washington D.C., the route faces potential suspension due to low bookings. Airport authorities stress the urgency of addressing this concern, emphasizing its impact on future routes.
Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport boasts an impressive 84% passenger booking rate, largely attributable to travelers like Courtney Myer, who values the airport's convenience. However, the nonstop flight to D.C. is grappling with challenges.
Aviation Director Mike Edwards notes a decline from a promising 74% booking rate at the June launch to a concerning 48% in August. If this trend persists, the flight risks removal from the airport by summer 2024, jeopardizing future travel prospects.
Edwards underscores the repercussions, stating, "It would have a dramatic impact on our prospect to secure future nonstop routes... and bringing in carriers who currently don’t serve the market."
Losing the flight would not only impact travel but also strike a blow to the local economy. Visit Baton Rouge reports that the airport facilitated over eight million visitors in 2022, contributing over $1 billion to the community.
In response, BTR is initiating a campaign and website to prevent the flight's grounding. Edwards urges travelers to make a pledge, committing to flying local and supporting economic development in Baton Rouge.
The airport anticipates increased passenger travel during the holiday season and January's Mardi Gras in D.C. However, substantial improvements in flight bookings are sought before the year's end.