The Airport Authority appears to be out of control yet again. The structure of leadership has remained largely unchanged through the Littlefield and current Berke administrations. Under Littlefield, this Airport Authority board was responsible for the construction of a luxurious aviation center using local and federal tax dollars. The center is currently leased to Wilson Air Center, an “award-winning corporate aviation” service, and has lost over $1 million since its construction. Now, this wasteful debacle has driven TAC Air, a private business, out of town.
Chattanooga will struggle to reach or perhaps be prevented from achieving its full potential as a city if the airport maintains its current state of mediocrity. For Mayor Berke, his handling of the Airport Authority is yet another instance where he has failed to use proper judgment. For years the airport has been in desperate need of new vision and leadership.
However, it is important to view this case from the proper perspective. Making changes to the Airport Authority structure would’ve surely angered the wrong people, thus endangering Mayor Berke’s ultimate desire to someday become governor of Tennessee. Two thousand seventeen will be an interesting year if Chattanooga’s freshman mayor continues petty political maneuvers with a dream gubernatorial campaign in mind rather than Chattanooga’s future well being.
The people of Chattanooga deserve better than this.