published Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Chattanooga airport CEO Mike Landguth resigns to take spot at Raleigh-Durham airport

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    Mike Landguth of Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport

After seven years at the Chattanooga airport's controls, Mike Landguth is heading to North Carolina to direct the Raleigh-Durham airport that serves about 15 times as many passengers a year.

"I have spent most of my career within the aviation industry, and Raleigh-Durham has a stellar reputation," Landguth, 42, said.

Landguth came to Chattanooga from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in 1999. He was vice president of operations at the Chattanooga airport before his promotion to the top spot in 2004.

His salary in Chattanooga this year is $149,212. His new pay in Raleigh wasn't announced.

Dan Jacobson, Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority chairman, said a search will begin immediately for Landguth's successor. A national search is planned.

"This is a critical time for our community as it continues to grow, and we will perform our due diligence to ensure we have the best candidate pool," he said.

Jacobson said plans are to name an interim within two weeks. Landguth submitted his resignation to the airport's board effective Nov. 4.

Landguth "brought a unique combination of strategic vision and old-fashioned work ethic to our leadership team," Jacobson said. "He has left our airport and our community stronger than he found it."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, Raleigh-Durham boarded more than 4.4 million passengers in 2010, up less than 1 percent over the previous year. Lovell Field boarded 292,000 last year, down 5.9 percent.

During his time in Chattanooga, Landguth said Lovell Field saw more air service options and lower fares. He said the airport also secured more than $70 million in grant funding for infrastructure development and diversified its revenue stream so it's not as dependent on the financial fluctuations of the airline industry.

"While it is a much larger market, the Raleigh-Durham community has a lot of similarities with Chattanooga, like a deep understanding of the connection between air service and economic development, along with a great quality of life and sense of hospitality," Landguth said.

The Chattanooga airport recently opened a new general aviation terminal on the west side of the main runway and attracted a Memphis-based fixed base operator to run it. However, existing FBO Tac Air criticized the move and filed a complaint with the FAA, saying it wanted an investigation into federal grants the airport used for the rival service.

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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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