I find the comments and motivations by the Chattanooga Airport Authority regarding the west side expansion troubling. They continue to state that they began the expansion and development of the new Airport Authority owned Fixed Based Operations, out of a demand from customer complaints related to high fuel prices and customer service issues. What they have done is institute a practice of government competing with private business and using these alleged complaints to justify their actions.
The Airport actually owns everything to do with this new venture, even the mounting losses and future capital expense associated with maintaining the facility. Wilson Air has nothing invested and not the first risk. In fact they began managing this facility in exchange for $100,000.00 per year. The losses over the last year and the future losses are absorbed by the Airport Authority. It’s hard to ignore the fact following the mounting losses that they immediately raised parking fees and landing fees charged to the airlines in attempt to recapture revenue and cover their losses which to date are in excess of $750,000.00
I have watched this debate over the last year and numerous questions remain unanswered surrounding this development.
If there were complaints from customers (Private Business’s) who frequent and use the facilities, why have they not been publicized and by what means if any are they documented?
The Airport Authority contends that this facility has reduced fuel prices by $1.00 per gallon at the airport. When did the airport become the only fuel facility in the world to regulate fuel prices when anywhere else it’s at the mercy of speculators and the market?
The Airport Authority claims in every press release that this development was also because of growth at the airport. If that claim is true then why is every customer that they presently have at the Wilson Air facility a former customer of its competitor TAC Air?
Why will the airport authority not clearly explain to the general public that this development has absolutely nothing to do with any service that they will ever use when flying commercially, rather it only impacts PRIVATE COMPANIES or individuals that own their own plan or jet?
Why will the Airport Authority not invest their energy and resources in improving the sorry air service that exists at their facility?
What are the positions and public comments from each of our elected officials on this issue of wasted tax dollars and the continued loss of money?
Finally, I wonder if the Airport Authority would be as adamant to support a government funded or better yet any parking facility across from the airport that competes for their parking revenues especially since it would immediately lower the cost of parking for actual users of the airport and in the spirit of competition.