Chattanooga Airport Getting Busier And Busier; Chicago, Newark Flights Doing Well

Chattanooga Airport officials said Monday that the airport keeps getting busier. President Terry Hart said February enplanements were up 23 percent over the previous February. March was even better - an increase of almost 28 percent over last March.

Mr. Hart said year to date the airport enplanements are up 23 percent.

Almost 41,000 customers have flown out of Chattanooga since July 1, it was stated.

He said all the airlines using the local airport have seen increase with Delta up eight percent, American up 17 percent and Allegiant up four percent.

Mr. Hart also said that the Chicago and Newark flights launched by United Airlines in September "are doing quite well."

He said the Chicago flights are getting occupancy in the 70 percent range and on into the 80s.

Mr. Hart said the Newark flights had a slower start, but are to the 60s and on into the 70s now.

Dan Jacobson, board chairman, told of coming back on a recent Newark flight with all but one seat filled.

Mr. Hart said service on the two flights has been good, with Chicago having 12 cancellations and nine of those weather-related. Newark has had 15 cancellations with all but one weather-related.

The airport is planning to draft a new master plan, having already exceeded many marks in a 2010 document. Mr. Hart said five different consulting firms had applied to help prepare it. One will be chosen soon.

The airport expects $21 million in income for the upcoming fiscal year - a rise of four percent.

Expenses are tabbed at $14 million. The airport will use over $4 million as its part of $13 million in upgrades.

The airport currently has an $18 million fund balance.

Mr. Hart said Tailwind Concessions has been a success story at the airport.

He said the previous vendor reached about $800,000 in revenue "in one of the few good years." He said Tailwind brought in $1.5 million in 2015 and over $2 million last year.

"They are giving our customers what they expect and what they deserve," he said.