New Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport interim chief Terry Hart said Monday he plans to keep Lovell Field on its existing course while officials start a search for a permanent leader.
"I look forward to ... continuing on the path we have going forward," said Hart, picked for the interim slot after having held the airport's vice president of operations job the last four years.
Hart, 50, brings more than 25 years of experience in the aviation industry to the post. Formerly vice president of field services for American Eagle in Chicago, he'll make $120,747 on an annualized basis after receiving a $20,000 salary increase from the Airport Authority on Monday.
Starting Nov. 8, Hart will replace Mike Landguth, who is leaving the Chattanooga CEO position to take a similar job at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina.
Jim Hall, the Airport Authority's vice chairman, said it likely will take "several months" as officials look to fill the CEO's slot.
"It will be a team effort as we continue through this transition," he said.
The Authority, in addition to Hart's salary hike, gave one-time $5,000 bonuses to three other top managers at Lovell Field -- April Cameron, John Naylor and Christina Siebold.
"You're our future," Hall said.
Landguth resigned last week after seven years heading the airport, and he made a tearful good-bye to the board.
"This is going to be difficult," he said at the meeting. "There's a piece of my heart left with this airport, this staff and this community. Thank God for this opportunity."
Longtime Authority member Gene Veazey said he chaired the committee that hired Landguth, calling him full of ideas.
"As far as I know, they all work," he said.
Authority member Moses Freeman said Landguth's enthusiasm and vision stood out.
Dan Jacobson, the Authority's chairman, quipped in a letter read in his absence due to a business meeting that he was requesting two nonstops between Raleigh and Chattanooga.
In other business, the panel agreed to spend $16,750 on an air service analysis by The Boyd Group. Landguth said the airport needs to go after United Airlines service.
Also, a new five-year contract was approved for Republic Parking Systems to continue to manage parking at the airport. Chattanooga-based Republic is to receive $31,000 a year in management fees, plus expenses, along with a 3 percent annual increase in fees in future years.