published Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Airport officials report on January passenger boardings

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    Staff photo by Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.

Despite a drop in Allegiant Air's traffic, Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport passenger boardings climbed in January over a year ago with business travelers helping push numbers higher.

"That's a really good sign," said Mike Landguth, Airport Authority president, on Monday.

Landguth said traffic should be bolstered by a second nonstop flight to Detroit starting in March, followed by flights to Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Fla., beginning April 1.

Allegiant, which flies nonstops between Chattanooga and Orlando and Tampa Bay, suffered a 29 percent drop in boardings in January, figures show.

Landguth said the decline showed up in Allegiant's earlier cut of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., service.

He said the airport is pushing for those nonstops to be restored, and it has offered Allegiant incentives.

"As they increase the number of flights here, their costs would actually go down," he said. "To this point, they've not taken us up on the opportunity."

Authority member Jim Hall told Landguth to "keep knocking" on Allegiant's door. "This is an impressive increase," he said about overall traffic.


January changes over a year ago at Chattanooga's airport:

• Allegiant Air -- down 29.08 percent

• American Eagle -- up 27.38 percent

• ASA—up 15.69 percent

• Comair—up 100 percent

• Northwest—down 100 percent

• US Air (Piedmont)—down 81.3 percent

• US Air (PSA)—up 29.74 percent

• US Air (Wisconsin)—up 100 percent

• Charters—up 100 percent

Source: Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport

Landguth said January is the sixth consecutive month of passenger increases.

Airport Authority member Moses Freeman asked about federal budget activity related to aviation.

Landguth said aviation tends to have strong bipartisan support in Congress.

"It looks like it's the first bill ... they're trying to take forward to try to come up with an approved bill not only for this year but for the next two years," he said.

But all the aviation budget proposals are "reflecting the challenges we face in this country that will be less money probably coming from the airport improvement program," Landguth said.

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about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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7Seventeen said...

The House and Senate finally got together on an FAA Reauthorization bill, but not before Senate Republicans tried to attach a health care repeal to it as an amendment. You know, for jobs.

Meanwhile, the FAA's twenty year plan to keep America's aviation system 10 years behind everybody else rumbles right along. "The bill will support thousands of jobs, strengthen airline safety, and modernize America's outdated air traffic control system.", says Jay Rockefeller. There's money to be made in modernizing America's outdated systems, so always make sure your system is just out of date enough to support a very expensive next-gen development program.

You know, for jobs.

February 22, 2011 at 12:05 p.m.
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