Chattanooga Airport expects to land more direct flights with $28 million passenger terminal expansion

Photography by Jennifer McNally / Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority Chairman Jim Hall

Jim Hall says the Chattanooga Airport is "headed back to a better normal" as its passenger traffic continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Hall, who last year was elevated from vice chairman to chairman of the Airport Authority, says the airport has a $28 million expansion underway to the passenger terminal that's slated to finish in 2024. That's coming after work was earlier completed on the airport's first parking garage, he says.

"With the plans we have, as we look toward to 2024 with the terminal expansion and new gates, things are headed in the right direction," Hall says.

The Chattanooga resident joined the airport panel after having served as head of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). He left that job just months before the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, having served nearly seven years as the NTSB's chairman.

An attorney with a law degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Hall also has chaired the Washington, D.C. firm Hall & Associates for more than two decades. There, he counsels a range of domestic and international clients in the areas of legislative affairs, crisis management, transportation safety and security.

Hall says he's hopeful that the timing of the expansion will coincide with the airlines being able to add more planes to their fleets and increase hiring to remedy pilot and other staffing shortages.

"We can look to the airport to be in a prime position to get more direct flights," he says. "Because of our location with growth in North Georgia ... good things are ahead for our airport."