Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport sets new traffic record after just 11 months

Travelers walk past rows of Christmas trees while traveling through the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. AAA forecasts a 3.1% increase in holiday travel over last year with an estimated 103 million Americans traveling between Dec. 23rd and Jan. 1st.

Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport has set a new annual record for passenger boardings after just 11 months, which officials said Monday could bolster their case for wooing more airline service.

With December's boardings still to be counted, the airport already has sped past last year's mark - which also was a record - of 419,059 passengers, said Terry Hart, Lovell Field's chief executive.

Through November, the airport had boardings of 446,203 passengers, figures show. That's up 16.7 percent over the same period in 2016.

Hart told Airport Authority members during a meeting that when December figures are included, officials expect boardings to come in at about 485,000 passengers for all of 2017.

"We're looking forward to a strong December," he said.

Chattanooga air traffic

Lovell Field has set a new passenger boardings mark after just 11 months of 2017.