Beginning in September, two new direct flights to Austin and Orlando will be available at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport.
Airport officials announced the new routes by Florida-based Via Airlines this morning. The flights will begin on Sept. 13, with introductory fares beginning at $99 for a one-way ticket.
It marks the first time ever that direct flights to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will be available from Baton Rouge. They’ll operate on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays with 1:38 p.m. departures.
Flights to Orlando Sanford International Airport in central Florida will occur Mondays and Thursdays, departing at 1:48 p.m.
“By securing these new markets with a low cost carrier like Via Airlines, it will help us to increase our enplanements, increase our connectivity and decrease our leakage,” says BTR Board of Commissioners Chairman Cleve Dunn Jr., adding the airlines’ rates will give BTR a competitive edge over the New Orleans International Airport in both high-demand markets.
Founded in 1997, Via Airlines operates a fleet of 50-seat Embraer ERJ145 jets—which will be used in Baton Rouge—in addition to 30-seat EMB-120 jets.
Local airport officials have been working to add more direct flights for years. Currently, passengers can fly direct to Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and Charlotte.
Austin demand has been growing, notes BTR Air Services Development Manager Jim Caldwell. And even though it’s about 20 minutes farther from Disney World than Orlando International, Orlando Sanford International Airport is a smaller and easier airport to navigate, Caldwell says, citing shorter security lines and rental car pickup within a walking distance.