Baton Rouge film industry pushes direct flight to LAX: would benefit entire region

By Danielle Grossman

BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Baton Rouge is becoming the place to be for people in all industries, which is bringing new residents and visitors each and every day.

One industry booming right now is looking for an easier way to get people here. A direct flight from Los Angeles to Baton Rouge is something the film industry says would benefit not just them but the city's economy as well.

It's been about eight years since the film industry slowly started moving into town

“People in my business were always talking about flights,” said professional actor, Michael Popajohn

Now with 110 million dollars of revenue or more a year the city is willing to do anything to keep them here.

“Having a direct flight to baton rogue is valuable to productions in terms of spending money on their travels but also saving the time and being able to come direct into our city," said Film Baton Rouge’s Liza Kelso.

She’s talking about a direct flight from Los Angeles to Baton Rouge which is something local actors like Michael Papajohn say it would be a win.

“Anyway you’re going to get a cast or crew here is good,” noted Papajohn. “Movies are booming like never before and they are looking to save time like never before and when you save time you save money.”

But it’s something the city and the airport have been working on for awhile.

"The airlines are number crunchers they look at the data and they have more data then we could ever provide and they do a financial analysis of if the route would be profitable," said Jim Caldwell from the Baton Rouge Airport.

But Liza Kelso from Film Baton Rouge says, yes it would help the industry but it could also provide huge regional benefits.

“What we have to do not only do the film numbers have to be there but we also have to have other industries because with this huge oil expansion that there are a lot of companies going to Asia right now and that would be a step off.”

Now, it's all about the numbers, and what they can prove.

“Basically it’s a sales job you have to position this you have to market it and pitch it and its up to the airplanes to buy it," noted Kelso.

So all actors like Papajohn can do in the meantime is wait and hope their commute eventually becomes a little easier.

Baton Rouge has 25 flights that do connect right now to LAX. Some of the bigger airlines are reluctant to provide the flight. But the smaller airlines are more willing to provide flights, with incentives to follow.