Boardings Up At Chattanooga Airport; Terminal To Be Updated

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

With boardings on the rise at the Chattanooga Airport, plans are being made to upgrade the terminal.

The Airport Authority reported that the 2013 passenger boardings grew by a little over one percent to 307,162. Total arriving and departing passengers came to 617,000, representing one of the airport’s highest passenger counts on record.

President and CEO Terry Hart said this was especially good news given the decline in the domestic airline industry as airlines continue to reduce their domestic capacity while growing international markets.

“Our continued growth is a testament to our many loyal travelers who choose to Get on Board with their hometown airport,” he said.

The Airport Authority also reported that total operations of commercial carriers, military and general aviation aircraft were up almost nine percent for the year. Mr. Hart said the operations increases were “a great indication of increasing activity on the airfield and a good overall barometer of airport growth.”

In 2012 the airport’s total air cargo shipments increased by 125 percent over the previous year. Mr. Hart cited the growth in demand and cargo capacity within the Chattanooga market as primary drivers of the growth. He noted that FedEx upgauged their aircraft from an ATR turboprop to a 727 flying six days a week in late 2011, and he said they have now increased to the larger 757s. “That growth in capacity – fueled by increased demand from regional businesses – is driving our cargo numbers,” Mr. Hart reported.

While he said he is confident that the airline industry will continue to challenge the airport in the years ahead, Mr. Hart promised that they would “continue to seek opportunities to expand all our aviation services and ensure we are meeting the needs of our growing community.”

The Airport Authority approved a $200,000 contract with EMJ to complete design drawings for a planned remodel of the passenger terminal. Airport officials said the design work should be completed by March and the airport will be ready to begin the work shortly thereafter.

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