$7.2 million Chattanooga Airport terminal work done as officials eye more parking, covered walkways

$7.2 million Chattanooga Airport terminal work done as officials eye more parking, covered walkways

April 26th, 2014 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

The Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport. File photo.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

Chattanooga Airport officials today will mark completion of the biggest renovation of the passenger terminal in two decades, and they're now looking at adding more parking and covered walkways outside the facility.

The $7.2 million terminal revamp gives Lovell Field an improved front door for the city and comes as passenger boardings have jumped about 16 percent so far this year over 2013, said airport President Terry Hart.

"It's bringing in what the customers were asking for," Hart said.

The refurbishing project includes new flooring, wall tile, painting and signage, updated public seating throughout the terminal, upgrading of the restrooms and a better escalator system in the rotunda.

"We needed to fix a lot of things," Hart said. "It really needed to be done."

Airport passengers have the option of two new full-service restaurants, located in both the pre- and post-security areas, as well as ordering from an upgraded food and drink menu.

The changes also include several large screen televisions and more electric outlets and work areas for travelers needing to stay connected to the Internet while they wait for flights.

Hart said airport officials are looking at adding about 100 new parking spaces as boardings grow. Also, he said, covered walkways in the main parking lot are under study to give airport users relief from the elements as they make their way to the terminal.

The moves come as the airport panel seeks data on performance by Delta Air Lines after fliers earlier complained about canceled and delayed flights. An online petition by Chattanoogans for Reliable Air Travel seeking better service from Delta Connection carriers at the airport drew more than 100 signatures.

Dan Jacobson, the Airport Authority chairman, said the renovated terminal space combines amenities and upgrades.

He said the changes will enhance the flying experience of passengers and continue to position the airport in a key economic development driver for the region.

Hart said the terminal renovation, in design and development since 2011, was completed on time and within budget.

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