Baton Rouge airport not expecting big holiday rush

While many airports around the country will be packed with holiday travelers over the next five days, the Baton Rouge Metro Airport only expects a modest uptick in travelers. An estimated 8,000 people are expected to fly in and out of the airport between Wednesday and Sunday, the peak travel days of the Thanksgiving weekend.

Those figures are between 1% and 2% lower than the number of people who passed through the airport last Thanksgiving, but airport spokesman Jim Caldwell says once travel has been completed and final data is tabulated the numbers should be comparable.

Because business travelers comprise the majority of those who use the Baton Rouge airport, peak travel time typically occurs during the week and in the spring, Caldwell says. During the holidays, by comparison, travelers often have more time to plan their trips and will shop other airports in the region for the best fares and most flight availability. Not surprisingly, Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans—the largest airport in the region—poses the biggest competitive threat to Baton Rouge.

A new study, however, shows Baton Rouge is becoming more competitive with its fares. Of seven regional airports in Louisiana and Mississippi, Baton Rouge has the second-lowest average fares at $242, or about 14% higher than New Orleans—which, at $212, has the lowest average fares. Other airports on the list, compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation, include: Gulfport, $251; Jackson, $258; Alexandria, $275; Lafayette, $295, and Mobile, $298. —Stephanie Riegel

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