New Orleans City Business: Lakefront Airport Terminal Reopens After Isaac Flooding


Hawthorne Global Aviation Services has reopened its terminal at the Lakefront Airport after repairing damage caused when Hurricane Isaac flooded the area with storm surge. 

Jay Taffet, general manager of Hawthorne’s Lakefront facility, said the company has been operating out of a trailer at the airport since its facility took on about a foot of water in late August. Its property includes more than 50,000 square feet of hangar space and a new terminal opened earlier this year.

“We have a second story to our (terminal) building, so within 24 hours after the storm we were open in a temporary operation center upstairs,” Taffet said.

Hawthorne is one of several companies at the airport that flooded when hit south Louisiana as a Category 1 storm. Officials with the Orleans Levee District decided to keep a key drainage valve for the property partially closed to avoid overtaxing the city’s drainage system. Airport businesses such as Landmark Aviation and Flight Academy of New Orleans reported at least 2 feet of water in their facilities.

Taffet noted Flightline First, another private airline at the airport, has returned to its facility. Landmark Aviation, which opened a new building two years ago with flood-proof measures such as power outlets raised 3 feet off the floor, is still operating out of a trailer.

Hawthorne, an 80-year-old general aviation services company based in Charleston, S.C., acquired a controlling interest in the former AeroPremier Jet Center at the airport in July. The property was at the center of a 2009 dispute between the Orleans Parish Levee District, a former owner of the Lakefront Airport, and AeroPremier, which sued the board for failing to meet lease terms that required it to repair a damaged hangar formerly occupied by the National Guard. The two parties reached a $1.3 million settlement in August 2010, a move that later prompted outcry from other airport tenants and a Federal Aviation Administration investigation.

The Orleans Parish Levee District completed $3.5 million in renovations on the hangar in February. Hawthorne added new hospitality and conference rooms and pilot amenities such as sleep rooms and private shower facilities.

Taffet, a former real estate developer who personally oversaw remediation work, said Hawthorne worked hard to complete repairs well in advance of the Super Bowl, which will be held in New Orleans on Feb. 3.

Larino, Jennifer. (2012, November 27). Lakefront airport terminal reopens after Isaac flooding. New Orleans City Business. Retrieved December 12, 2102, from