Six construction firms have submitted bids for building a parking deck at the increasingly-busy Chattanooga Airport. The need for the deck was identified In creating the master plan for the facility. A Request for Proposal was issued a couple of months ago and bids were received last Friday. After Airport officials review the bids, they will be discussed with the board. It will take a year from the start to complete the parking structure.
It was also announced that an agreement was reached with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to offer pre check-ins in at the Chattanooga Airport.
TSA has implemented an $85 fee for the service that will allow a traveler to by-pass removing shoes, belts and laptops. Business travelers will benefit and are looking forward to this, said Airport President Terry Hart.
At a meeting of the Airport Board, Mr. Hart reported good news to the directors. Statistics from October and November show increases in almost category. He said enplanements are up, landing weights increased over the same month the year before and arrivals and departures are up. December is also off to a good start, he said, with arrivals and departures having increased by 25 percent compared to 2018.
Expansion of the East Ramp that has been under construction for several months is expected to be complete by mid-January. The paving and dirt work has been done, retaining walls have been built and stormwater infrastructure is in place. Fencing and overhead power lines have yet to be finished. This project will provide sites for three additional hangars.
The replacement of runway lighting has been in process with little disruption since work has been done at night. New runway side lights, center line lights and touch-down lighting, along with wiring, should be complete this week, said Mr. Hart.
Crack sealing on the secondary runway has been done. Seams in the overlay that is 12 years old had begun to open. The seams have now been cleaned and resealed.
Construction of Hangar 20 on the south end of the airport should be started in January.
In November, Volkswagen hosted a meeting in Chattanooga and brought in about 700 dealers from across North America. This took place on three days from Monday through Wednesday. To handle the increased traffic, Delta increased the number of flights and added seats. An employee of Delta had an idea that was implemented and very well received. It was to add a temporary “pop-up Sky Club” during the VW event. Mr. Hart said the success gave ideas for future amenities at the Chattanooga Airport when there is a terminal expansion.
Mr. Hart met last month with Tennessee state legislators to discuss state funding for the facility. He said it could lower taxes and is important in order to stay competitive with airports in the surrounding states.
The airport and its employees and vendors are involved with activities in the community. In October the group participated in the Heart Walk and raised $23,000 - the top fundraiser during the event. Involvement continues with Brainerd High School and with the Shepherd community by making a gift to the community center.
The board took action on multiple items, including replacement of the roof on the airport dome, that was damaged by high wind last summer. Insurance will cover the work that will cost $942,000. Copper colored standing seam metal roofing material will replace the original copper roof. Work is expected to begin around the first of the year and should take about 30 days.
Old vehicles in the airport’s fleet that now require excessive maintenance will be replaced. A total of $157,000 was approved for this equipment that will come from Marshall Mize Ford. The Passenger Facility Charge of $4.50 on every airline ticket sold will be used for this purchase. PFC money will also pay for the replacement of 1,700 feet of old fencing to keep wildlife off the airfield. Approval from the board was given to spend up to $70,000 for the fencing. The purchase of a ground-power unit was approved for Wilson Air Center along with the replacement of two old pickup trucks with 2020 Ford Rangers for $82,192.
A three-year contract for fire suppression was authorized at $12,356 per year. It will include inspections, monitoring and testing. Money was allotted for this in the budget.
A $19,900 grant from Fire House Subs will pay for new fire extraction equipment.
Chairman of the Board Dan Jacobson gave a reminder that the deadline for getting a Real ID is Oct. 1, 2020. Mr. Jacobson urges customers not to wait until the last minute to get the new ID.