Chattanooga Airport Moving Ahead With Improvements

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Harrison Pirtle
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Updated: 6/07/2013 6:59 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WDEF) -- The Chattanooga Metro airport, a frequent a target for criticism, is taking some giant steps to re-brand itself.
New President Terry Hart says the airport is moving on a wide front to increase service, remodel the terminal, and add another solar farm.

For many Chattanoogans the most noticible change at the airport is knocking down those old auto dealership buildings on Brainerd Road, and extending the airport perimeter to Chickamauga creek.

CHRISTINA SEABOLD, MARKETING DIRECTOR "We're working with the city on a water quality project...we're going to re-grade the land and pull all that water that floods the Brainerd and mid-town area..pull that off the road and into the green space and hopefully it will dramatically reduce the flooding that occurs in that area."

But inside airport grounds, the debate continues over the addition of Wilson Air, a competitor to long-time operator Tac Air.
Airport president Terry Hart told the Chattanooga Civitan club today that despite the controversy, the move was a good one.

TERRY HART, PRES. METRO AIRPORT, CHATTANOOGA CIVITAN CLUB "There was no city or county tax dollars used to build this facility..as a matter of fact we received zero financial support from the city or the county."

The the privately-owned facility was built in 2011 with state funds and is the only Platinum certified hangar in the world. But it has not yet shown a profit.
Across the runway, the main terminal building is getting a 7.2 million dollar make-over.

CHRISTINA SEABOLD "We're looking at everything, top to bottom at the airport..from roofs to carpet to new escalators..new restrooms."

And, on airport property that could not be used for other purposes, a 3-million dollar solar farm has been successful.

CHRISTINA SEABOLD "We have a second phase going in right now and when this phase is complete..the two phases together..will produce the equivalent of 85% of the airport's total energy use."

Christina Seabold says local air fares are becoming more competitive.
She says the Atlanta airport is urging some flyers to consider using the Chattanooga airport instead.


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