Chattanooga Airport Buys TAC-Air For $12.375 Million

Friday, January 10, 2014
TAC-Air
TAC-Air
- photo by John Wilson

The Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport has bought the TAC-Air fixed base operator for $12.375 million, airport officials said Friday.

The move was approved by the Airport Authority board at an afternoon meeting.

Officials said $10 million of the amount will be financed through revenue bonds, which were approved by the board on Wednesday.

TAC-Air has been in a contentious relationship with the airport after it built a competitor - Wilson Air Center. The new facility has lost over $1 million, though airport officials said it was on track for an eventual profit. 

Terry Hart, airport president, said since the opening of Wilson Air Center in 2010 that fuel prices at the airport has been consistently 20 percent lower than similarly-sized airports.

He said the airport "expects a positive return on the combined operations of the facilities and will use the revenue to re-invest in the airport."

Mr. Hart said, "Keeping prices low and service high are among our top priorities. The combined operations on the east side and west sides of the airfield will allow us to keep costs low while investing revenue back into the airport."

Wilson Air Center will operate both FBO facilities.

Officials said Wilson Air plans to keep most of the current TAC-Air employees. Jobs were offered to 95 percent of the hourly employees and most accepted and have been trained, it was stated.

The change will take effect on Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

Some of the property is to be used for public parking and for an airplane ramp, according to the bond resolution. Mr. Hart said the airport has a problem with space for parking cars. He said a consultant earlier said it would cost between $16 million and $18 million to build an 800-car parking deck. Mr. Hart said the acquisition will allow the airport to re-evaluate its master plan.

Phillips Petroleum had a contract with TAC-Air and, in order to avoid a termination penalty, the airport is agreeing to fulfill that contract by buying 800,000 gallons of fuel per year. That is about 40 percent of the airport yearly quantity.

Wilson Air Center has an exclusive agreement on fuel purchases with Eastern Aviation Fuel. That will be amended to allow the Phillips purchases. The Eastern Aviation contract will be extended from five years to 10 years.  

First Tenonessee Bank is buying the bonds on a 10-year term. The basic fixed rate is 4.99 percent.

The airport already has a $5 million loan through First Tennessee.

The remainder of the purchase price will come from airport reserve funds.

Farzana Mitchell, who heads the board's finance committee, said the board has been involved in the acquisition process for about a year. "This did not just come up ovenight," she said.

Officials said longtime airport consultants Newton and Associates helped evaluate the deal and that Decosimo and Company inspected the TAC-Air books.

Tony Smith said he had been representing a firm that is moving into town and has been negotiating with both Wilson Air and TAC-Air. He asked about the loss of competition and the effect on prices. Mr. Hart said the airport would keep fuel costs as low as possible. "We are not going backward," he said.

He said Wilson Air, despite taking on the new facility, will keep its management fee at $200,000.

Dan Jacobsen, board chairman, said, "This is an exciting time for the Chattanooga Airport. With improved service and pricing for our customers, we are able to provide the infrastructure and aviation services our community needs in order to grow. We've seen tremendous growth in our sustainability initiatives, in the continued development on the west side of the airfield and in the terminal renovation currently underway.

"This is all part of the airport's strategic vision and we are energized by the opportunity to reassess our master plan and consider changes that enhance the experience, not only at the FOBs, but at the commercial terminal as well."    

 

- Photo2 by Brent McDonald, News Channel 9

Man Shot On East Henderson Drive; Suspect Sought

Chattanooga Police responded to 740 East Henderson Drive at approximately 9:02 p.m. on Thursday for a person shot.  Officers located a black male victim who was suffering from a single gunshot wound to the chest. According to witnesses, the victim was in a physical altercation with multiple parties when a suspect fired at the victim striking him in the chest. The victim ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ACUFF, BRANDY DANIELLE     1705 EAST 26TH STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37407     29     Chattanooga          VIOLATION OF PROBATION (THEFT UNDER $500) ANDRES, SYLVESTER G     3112 SPRING CREEK ROAD CHATTANOOGA, 37412    ... (click for more)

State Moving Forward In Educational Improvements

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education released the following statement from President and CEO Jamie Woodson regarding the 2014 legislative session in Tennessee and HB1549/SB1835, which passed the General Assembly Thursday: After a year of extensive public and legislative conversation regarding higher academic standards and related strategies to improve student learning, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Some Really Funny Tweets

I am not on Twitter so I don’t tweet. Difficulties with my right hand don’t even allow me to text and when you blend in the fact I am now a bonafide senior citizen, it is ample reason for me to live a life where I am lacking in what otherwise might be achieved through social networking. Twitter has done real well without me. It is one of the 10 most visited websites in the world; ... (click for more)

Soddy-Daisy Uses Eight-Run Inning To Subdue Lincoln County, 13-3

An early two-run deficit meant nothing to Soddy-Daisy’s baseball team Thursday night. Catcher Dillon Clift and pitcher Andy Wright each hit two-run homers, Tre Carter stole home and Soddy-Daisy scored eight runs in the second inning en route to a 13-3 win over Lincoln County in the Trojan Classic at Tom Higgins Field. “We’ve given up a few of those,” Trojans coach Jared Hensley ... (click for more)

Lady Mocs Softball Hosts MTSU

The Chattanooga Mocs softball team is set to host in-state rival Middle Tennessee Friday and Saturday at Frost Stadium in a non-conference two-game set.  The Good Friday game is set to begin 5 p.m. with Saturday’s finale starting at Noon. Chattanooga is currently 24-17 with a 9-5 Southern Conference mark – just 2.5 games back of SoCon leading Georgia Southern – while Middle ... (click for more)