Terry Hart named CEO for Chattanooga Airport

Terry Hart named CEO for Chattanooga Airport

June 28th, 2012 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Terry Hart, interim Airport Authority CEO, talks about his history in the transportation business and the future of Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.


Name: Terry Hart

Job: CEO of Chattanooga Airport

Background: Reared in New Castle, Ind.

Education: Indiana University

Family: Married with two children

Work: Formerly with Britt Airways, American Airlines and American Eagle in Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth

Chattanooga Airport officials on Wednesday chose its interim chief executive to head the facility permanently while they OK'd planning for another hangar for its controversial general aviation center.

Terry Hart, who came to the airport over four years ago as vice president of operations, will make $140,000 a year as CEO, officials said. Hart was picked late last year as interim when Mike Landguth took the top job at the airport in Raleigh, N.C.

Dan Jacobson, the Airport Authority's chairman, said Hart's background as an executive with American Airlines and experience in Chattanooga can take the airport to "the next level."

Hart said he'll continue to focus on airport safety, customer service and long-term financial stability.

"The airport is here to support economic growth in the whole region," he added. "I don't take this lightly."

Authority member Michael Mallen said Hart is "fully prepared" to serve as CEO.

"Promoting from within is a great luxury to have," he said.

Meanwhile, the Authority agreed to spend $424,000 for planning related to the potential construction of a second aircraft hangar at its general aviation center run by Wilson Air. Officials said 90 percent of that cost will be in state funds with the airport picking up the rest.

They said the existing hangar is already filled, and the new facility would include office space for its users. It's estimated the hangar would be 31,000 square feet, with 11,000 in office space.

A consultant, Michael Hodges of Airport Business Solutions, said there is pent-up demand for hangar space. He said the new general aviation airport in Cleveland, Tenn., likely will service "lower end" secondary aircraft but higher end corporate users will prefer Chattanooga.

Already, Chattanooga Airport has received a $5 million state grant for construction of a second hangar at the center. According to the state Department of Transportation grant, the airport would have to chip in $555,555 for the project.

However, the construction of the facilities has drawn fire from Tac Air, the airport's longtime fixed base operator.

Tac Air has said the new facility isn't needed and that the airport is trying to drive the business from Lovell Field.

But, Hart has said competition is benefiting airport users by driving down their costs.

Still, airport officials said this spring that losses at the new terminal already have hit the entire year's projected deficit in the first five months of operation.