After searching for almost two years, the Acadiana Regional Airport Authority has finalized an agreement to hire a new director for the facility.
Maurice J. Songy, a native of Plaquemine who most recently served as the vice president of operations for the Chattanooga, Tennessee, Municipal Airport Authority, has agreed to take the position that has been vacant since the fall of 2018.
“He and his family want to come home,” said ARAA Board Chairman Pat Norris. “He’s Louisiana born, from Plaquemine, south of Baton Rouge. He’s worked in aviation at the Baton Rouge airport and with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s Aviation Department.”
Songy took the job in Chattanooga in 2012, eight years ago. But because of the economic shutdown that came in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, he became available to apply for the Acadiana Regional director’s position when the Chattanooga airport authority had to make large cutbacks to survive with decimated revenues.
Songy will be the third director Acadiana Regional has seen in as many years. Jason Devillier, who held the position for almost a decade, departed at the end of 2017. His successor, Megan McLellan, began working in May, 2018, but was lured back to her previous employer, the Texas Department of Transportation and Development, a few months later.
Like Devillier and McLellan, Songy received his bachelor of science degree in aviation from the University of Louisiana Monroe. He also shares experience with DOTD with McLellan.
He will assume the leadership role for the airport at a tenuous time. The COVID-19 pandemic has gutted many airports as the demand for passenger seats plummeted in the last two months. At the Chattanooga airport where Songy last served, flights and revenues were down 90 percent.
The advantage Songy has in coming to New Iberia, aside from being back home, is that most of the Acadiana Regional Airport’s revenue is not based on traditional passenger traffic. He also comes in after a contentious negotiation with the airport’s fixed base operator has been successfully completed.
“He will start on May 26,” Norris said. “The board will meet with him, show him the ropes, let him meet with the tenants. Then we’ll schedule meetings with the parish council and other boards and entities to get him introduced.”