On Monday, leaders broke ground on an air traffic control tower. It’s a first for the airport that has seen steady growth since Hurricane Katrina when the Louisiana Air National Guard moved there from New Orleans’ Lakefront Airport.
Leaders say the tower will make the airport safer and attract more corporate jets, which they believe will eventually lead to new business opportunities in and around Hammond.
“ These bigger jets that weren’t able to come to us before because business protocol said you can’t come to an untowered airport, now they are able to come in,” says Director of Hammond Northshore Regional Airport Jason Ball.
“And they are going to start looking at Hammond to possibly put more businesses and organizations,” says Chris Brannon with the Hammond Chamber.
“It will allow for more military aircraft to come in that could not come unless they came in to controlled air space and this is, or at least will be in about a year controlled air space,” says Hammond Mayor Mayson Foster.
The tower should be up and running in a year. It will be operated by the National Guard.