Chennault International Airport

Chennault International Airport (IATA: CWF, ICAO: KCWF, FAA LID: CWF) is a public use airport located four nautical miles (7 km) east of the central business district of Lake Charles, a city in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, United States. It is owned by the Chennault International Airport Authority.[2] The main runway is the longest at any airport between Houston and Cape Canaveral.[3]

Chennault International Airport
USGS aerial photo as of 23 January 1994
Airport typePublic
OwnerChennault International Airport Authority
ServesLake Charles, Louisiana
Elevation AMSL16 ft / 5 m
Coordinates30°12′38″N 093°08′35″W
Direction Length Surface
ft m
15/33 10,701 3,262 Concrete
Statistics (2006)
Aircraft operations52,976
Based aircraft42
Sources: airport website[1] and FAA[2]

While a fully operational airport, it is an industrial center and provides no commercial air services. Those needs are served by Lake Charles Regional Airport. It is named for Major General Claire Chennault, USAAF, the aviator famous for commanding the Flying Tigers fighter group during World War II.

Its mission statement reads as follows: "The Authority created pursuant hereto shall be established for the primary object and purpose of stimulating and encouraging the development of an industrial park for economic development through commerce, industry and research and for the utilization and development of natural and human resources of the area and provide job opportunities."

Northrop Grumman Corporation is Chennault's major aircraft manufacturing and modification tenant. Aeroframe Services, LLC (formerly EADS Aeroframe Services, Inc.) had specialized in maintenance and overhaul services for Airbus and other jetliner aircraft; however, this company then ceased operations and was replaced by AAR Corporation. Million Air, Chennault's fixed-base operator (FBO) for business and general aviation as well as charter operations, is also located on the airport. Airborne Express (now ABX Air) flying air freight operations for DHL had served Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas with McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 jet freighter service from its on-airport truck hub; however, these flights were discontinued when DHL restructured its U.S. operations.


In 1940 Lake Charles Army Air Field was established, and became an Air Force Base in 1947. It was home to the now inactivated 44th Bombardment Wing in the 1950s and 1960s. The U.S. Air Force initially operated B-29 Superfortress bombers as well as Boeing KC-97 air-to-air refueling tankers and later flew B-47E Stratojet bombers from the airfield.

Chennault Air Force Base closed in 1963.

Other features

Sowela Technical Community College, located on the former Chennault Air Force Base, offers a variety of academic and technical programs with terminating certificates, diplomas, and/or associate degrees. The College's Workforce Development unit tailors training programs to meet local business, industry and community training needs.

NASA continues to use the airfield for cross country training missions conducted with T-38 Talon supersonic trainers with these jet aircraft being based at Ellington Field near the Johnson Space Center in the Houston area. Five of the six (no Space Force) U.S. armed forces use this as a rest stop on cross-country flights as well as other federal and state agencies.

The Mallard Cove Golf Course, an 18-hole championship golf course, is located near the airport.

The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury's Mosquito Control Department operates from a facility adjacent to the airport. A connecting taxiway allows access for aerial pesticiding operations conducted with a Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander and a Cessna 188 AGwagon.

Facilities and aircraft

Chennault International Airport covers an area of 1,310 acres (530 ha) at an elevation of 17 feet (5 m) above mean sea level. It has one concrete paved runway designated 15/33 which measures 10,701 by 200 feet (3,262 by 61 m).[2]

For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2006, the airport had 52,976 aircraft operations, an average of 145 per day: 58% general aviation, 38% military, 3% air taxi and 1% scheduled commercial. At that time there were 42 aircraft based at this airport: 38% single-engine, 10% multi-engine, 29% jet, 12% helicopter and 12% military.[2]


  1. Chennault International Airport Authority Archived January 30, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  2. FAA Airport Form 5010 for CWF PDF, effective 2008-06-05
  3. "Chennault runway ready for landings". American Press. American Press. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office 1961 (republished 1983, Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0-912799-02-1).
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History 1984. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.

General references

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