published Monday, June 27th, 2011

Rising use of Chattanooga airport

A recent increase in passenger volume at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport is encouraging, chiefly for two reasons:

• First, there is a direct benefit to airport revenue, which helps sustain the jobs of employees at the facility.

• Second, rising use of our local airport is an indication of the broader economic growth that our community and the region as a whole are enjoying through investments such as those at the Volkswagen plant and elsewhere. As business and industry grow here, the need for flights increases.

“Clearly, we have incredible growth in our regional economy,” said Mike Landguth, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority. He credited that growth and competitive fares into and out of Chattanooga with drawing more travelers to the airport.

In May, arrivals and departures at the airport rose to nearly 57,000.

Ironically, though, you might say that the airport is becoming a victim of its own success. Higher passenger volume is stirring discussions of the need for expansion to accommodate our community’s desire for air service.

That could mean some growing pains, of course, but that is often the price of progress. At any rate, finding ways to accommodate more passengers at our airport is clearly more desirable than the alternative of having too few passengers flying into and out of Chattanooga.

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