- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

NEW IBERIA, La. (AP) - Acadiana Regional Airport in New Iberia might one day be a gateway for international trade.

Acadiana airport Director Jason Devillier tells The Advocate (https://bit.ly/1NkjWpU) federal authorities have been asked to waive a rule that prohibits loud, older planes used in South and Central America from flying in the U.S.

Devillier said waiving the rule would make New Iberia an exclusive import-export hub, where merchants could take advantage of trade pacts the U.S. has with Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

And vibrant trade also could open up with other, non-free trade pact countries if planes laden with cargo are allowed to land in New Iberia to unload, or load up American goods and take off for sale in foreign markets.

“This is all about opening up trade, piggy backing on the CAFTA and NAFTA trade agreements,” Devillier said.

He said the areas near the airport and south of New Iberia over which the planes would fly are sparsely populated, so few people would be affected by the noise.

The only U.S. runways that regularly let out-of-compliance older planes land are at Miami Dade Airport, where officials use a system of almost daily waivers granted by the FAA that allow the planes to land and take off in south Florida, Devillier said.

Miami officials “have gotten that down to a science,” he said.

Devillier and others have enlisted help from Louisiana’s congressional delegation in asking the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration to waive rules set in the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990, which forced airlines to phase out louder, older models by 1999. Many of those jets are still flying in other parts of the world.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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