As demand drops for nonstop route to D.C., BTR ‘needs the community to support the flights’

Baton Rouge Metro Airport’s recently launched daily nonstop flights to Washington, D.C, are only about half filled, according to preliminary figures released by the airport.

The flight, launched by American Airlines in June to bring travelers to Reagan International Airport in Washington, D.C., was roughly 45% full in August, according to preliminary figures. That’s significantly lower than the 68% recorded in July and 74% recorded in June. BTR load factor average for all flights is 85%.

It typically takes about 12 months to build support on a new airline route, says BTR spokesman Jim Caldwell, but the airport needs the load factor to reach 80% or higher to maintain the flight in the long run.

“There is undoubtedly enough demand to Washington to support the route, but it comes down to the consumer,” Caldwell says. “This has been the most requested nonstop destination for many years, and now that we have it, we need the community to support the flights.”

Overall, the BTR airport saw more than 64,000 passengers in August, an 11% increase compared to August of 2022. Year-to-date, the passenger volume for BTR is nearly 490,000, a 16% increase.

This story originally appeared in a Sept. 20 issue of Daily Report. To keep up with Baton Rouge business and politics, subscribe to the free Daily Report e-newsletter here.