VW keeps Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport busy

VW keeps Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport busy

September 24th, 2011 by Mike Pare in News

Large international aircraft rest on the tarmac at Wilson Air across from the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport at noon Friday.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

Parts of Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport on Friday looked much like a parking lot for airplanes.

Volkswagen brought in hundreds of people for a global meeting of company managers at the new $1 billion assembly plant in Chattanooga.

Pam McAllister, who manages TAC Air's fixed base operation at Lovell Field, said VW didn't want a lot of comment about its meeting. But, she said, about 10 planes were parked outside TAC Air's facilities on Friday.

Across the main runway, at least seven planes, many of them big aircraft in size, were parked in front of Wilson Air Center's operation.

The German automaker's managers flew into the city earlier this week for a high-level strategy session and to check out the plant that officially started producing the all-new Passat this spring.

Martin Winterkorn is CEO of the Volkswagen group.

Martin Winterkorn is CEO of the Volkswagen group.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Martin Winterkorn, the company's chief executive, said earlier that about 250 VW officials, managers and their spouses were to be in the city.

McAllister said the number of aircraft is probably one of the biggest collections she has seen at Chattanooga's airport. She said other big gatherings which produced a lot of airport business were AT&T's annual meeting of stockholders last year and an NCAA championship football game at Finley Stadium between Colgate and Delaware in 2003.

McAllister said she likes the business brought in this week by the VW meeting, adding the planes need to buy fuel.

Mike Landguth, the airport's president, said Lovell Field officials have planned for several years for growth in aviation which they believe is a direct reflection of the region's expanding economy.

"Clearly, that growth is occurring," he said.

VW built a temporary 60,000-square-foot structure for the meeting at the plant. According to VW, the pavilion is to be dismantled within days after the meeting.

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