published Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Parking fees rise at Chattanooga Airport

Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport is seen from above.
Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport is seen from above.
Photo by Dan Henry.
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AIRPORT PARKING FEES

Short-term: From $14 to $16 per day

Intermediate: From $9 to $10 per day

Long-term: Stays at $8 per day

Source: Chattanooga Airport

Chattanooga Airport users on both sides of the terminal are seeing new increases in their costs.

The Airport Authority has raised parking fees for many travelers, with short-term and intermediate lot patrons paying more.

Also, the airport has hiked landing fees for airlines.

Terry Hart, Lovell Field's chief executive, said the landing fee increase is aimed at better supporting the airport's costs related to the airfield.

Hart, appointed last month as the airport's head after serving as the interim CEO, said that ensuring financial stability at Lovell Field is one of his goals.

"Long-term financial success is critical," he said.

Airport officials expect operating revenues to rise about 10 percent to $10.3 million over the next 12 months, according to its recently approved budget plan.

Airport passenger traffic this calendar year through May is up, figures show. Boardings are 5.7 percent above the same period last year to 127,162 passengers, according to the airport.

"We're poised for another solid year," said Dan Jacobson, the authority's chairman.

Expenses over the next 12 months are slated to go up about 9 percent to $8.3 million versus the prior year, according to the airport. Helping drive expenses are the airport's solar farm, general aviation development and terminal work such as new carpets and renovating restrooms, officials said.

Meanwhile, more revenues will come via the solar farm, landing fees and parking, they said.

Short-term and intermediate parking fees have gone up, though the airport is keeping long-term rates level.

Gail Roderick, of Soddy-Daisy, said Friday she has noticed the increase in the short-term lot. Her husband is handicapped and they often use the spaces close to the terminal, Roderick said.

"It used to be free," she said about handicapped parking in the short-term lot. Airport officials said that changed in 2009.

Hafiz Musa, who was visiting from the African nation of Sudan, said his family still uses airport parking despite any rate changes.

"You've got to park here," he said.

Airport spokeswoman Christina Siebold said the main reason for the increase in the short-term rate is to better control usage of the lot. She said too many long-term parkers use short term spaces.

"We need more space in the short-term lot for temporary parkers -- those needing to park for just a few hours while they wait for a flight," Siebold said.

Landing fees paid by the airlines are rising from $2 per 1,000 pounds of landing weight to $2.07, according to the airport.

Siebold said a recent study looked at the costs to maintain the airfield and terminal. Airport officials are allocating those costs to users in those areas, she said.

"We were not recovering all our costs," Siebold said.

She said the airport had meetings with the airlines and answered their questions relating to the increase.

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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