New Parking Garage At Airport Ready To Open; Airport Expects Best Year In 12 Years; New Cell Phone Waiting Area Planned

Monday, July 19, 2021 - by Joseph Dycus
- photo by Joseph Dycus

The Chattanooga Airport’s new 1,300-space parking garage may not open til the 21st, but that didn’t stop Terry Hart and the board from partaking in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony after Monday’s board meeting.

“If you go back and look at Feb. 28, 2020, which is the last time we were in this room, the board approved a contract for construction of the garage,” president Hart said. “We began construction in June 2020, and about 400 days later we’ll be cutting a ribbon today and hopefully seeing it open very soon.”

Mr.

Hart said the project was completed both on time, and within the budget set. He said it should open on Wednesday, and that the rental cars will not move in tll August. 

“We want to get the public portion of it running, and then after that point we can move the rental cars in,” he Hart said. 

The fourth floor of the garage can be used as an observation deck, and board member Michael Mallen said it could be utilized to create an interest in aviation among children.

“I hope that once all the things are operating that we can start to engage schoolchildren and field trips,” Mr. Mallen said. “I don’t think anything sparks the interest in aviation like seeing things operating.”

During the president’s status report, he said numbers are trending in the right direction. He said, “It’s been a busy couple of months and the numbers continue to rise,” citing the 30,000 enplanements in May and 35,000 in June. He told the board that number did not rise a greater degree because there was not much seat growth in those two months. 

“If we forecast our operations out for the rest of the year, based on what we’re seeing trending, we should see our best year on operations in the past 12 years,” president Hart said. “The military is doing a lot of training and we’re seeing that general aviation traffic remains strong.”

He also said that in conjunction with opening the parking garage, the airport is redesignating one of the empty parking lots on Airport Road into a cellphone lot. This lot would be reserved for people who are coming to pick up people who just got off a flight.

“Instead of coming here and sitting next to the curb, they can go to the cellphone lot and wait for a phone call,” Mr. Hart said. “That way they can come when they’re ready.” 

MBI Companies provided architectural services for the parking garage.

- photo by Joseph Dycus

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