ExpressJet closing center at Chattanooga Airport

ExpressJet closing center at Chattanooga Airport

August 2nd, 2013 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

The Chattanooga Airport terminal.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Delta Air Lines' main affiliate at Chattanooga Airport is planning to close a maintenance facility, raising worries the move will hurt future on-time performance by the carrier in and out of the city.

ExpressJet, which flies upward of half of all passenger traffic at Lovell Field some months, plans to shut down the facility in September.

Samantha Harrison, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based airline, said the closing is the result of a change in its network flight schedule that makes it unviable to retain a maintenance operation in Chattanooga.

"This decision was made in the best interest of supporting our operation as a whole," she said.

Harrison said the six ExpressJet personnel affected by the shift are eligible to transfer to other positions within the company.

Airport spokesman Albert Waterhouse said officials regret the closing of the facility.

He said that officials "wish them well in all their future endeavors."

ExpressJet has operated the center at Chattanooga Airport since 2010. When the maintenance operation was started, airport officials had hoped it would boost the airline's on-time performance.

The facility allowed the airline to cycle some of its aircraft system wide in and out of Chattanooga each day to do scheduled maintenance and handle problems.

At the time, the airline said Chattanooga's proximity to Atlanta was factored into the decision.

ExpressJet flies daily between Chattanooga and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

In May, ExpressJet boarded 12,046 passengers at Chattanooga Airport. That was nearly half of the 27,677 passengers flown out of the airport.

ExpressJet had originally leased about 2,000 square feet at the airport near the passenger terminal.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.