Wednesday, September 7, 2011
The new woodgrain ticket counters that were installed last week in the main terminal of the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport are a small indication of the long-term changes the airport will see in the coming months, including the addition of a solar farm, increased air cargo traffic and more interior and exterior renovations.
Extensive renovations in the main terminal are currently in the planning stages.
“All of the improvements will make it easier to get you in and on your way,” Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport CEO and President Michael J. Landguth told Brainerd Kiwanians at a recent club meeting.
He listed replacing carpeting, renovating the public restrooms, adding a second security checkpoint and constructing a parking deck as some of the renovation plans. Airport Director of Communications and Marketing Kristina Siebold said there is currently no timeline available for these projects.
The recently installed ticket counters are a final step in renovating the ticketing entrance. Eighteen months ago a project that moved trace scanners from the floor into the back wall, added electronic information boards and renovated the back ticketing wall was completed, said Siebold.
“The new counters are a lot lower,” she said. “They’re more approachable and give the room a warmer, retail feel.”
According to Landguth, the airport is growing and is focusing this growth in three major categories: air cargo, general/corporate aviation and commercial services.
“Our growth at the airport is a reflection of growth in the community,” he said.
Construction of a solar farm adjacent to the main runway is slated to begin any day, said Siebold. The solar farm will be completed by the end of the year and will be visible from the runway, she said. An educational kiosk will be added to the main terminal to help inform travelers about what they will see while taking off and landing.
According to Siebold, the solar farm will produce just over 1 megawatt of power, which the airport will sell back to TVA, she said. Over the past several years the airport has gone through a process to decrease its overall energy consumption by 1 megawatt. That decrease, combined with what the airport is selling back, will bring its effective energy consumption to 2.5 megawatts, she said.
Siebold also said the airport has finalized a contract with FedEx to double the international delivery service provider’s capacity at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport. Landguth said the company will be replacing its small fleet with a 727 jet and that this increase in capacity is likely a trickle-down effect from Amazon’s decision to locate in Chattanooga. Landguth identified Chattanooga’s increased auto manufacturing, renewable energy resources and EBP’s high-speed Internet technology as three market clusters that are driving air cargo business to Chattanooga.