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The Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport will have a few more flight options for air travelers this spring and summer.

American Airlines will add a third round-trip flight daily to the Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport beginning in mid-June. The airline also is adding another Chicago flight each day that will be round trip.

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Steve Brown directs an Allegiant Air jet airplane to runway two on its maident voyage from Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport on Tuesday morning. The airline is offering the low-cost flights to Orlando four times a week.

Terry Hart, president of the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, said it has been more than two years since the airline has serviced two round-trip flights out of the local airport to Chicago.

Budget carrier Allegiant Air also will be adding another weekly trip to Tampa in June and July that will be seasonal only.

The new flights come following the news that Delta Air Lines is expanding its presence in Chattanooga and adding a non-stop route to its hub at New York LaGuardia.

The daily weekday service begins July 9 and will be operated by Delta Connection affiliate Endeavor Air on 76-seat Bombardier CRJ-900 regional jets. There will be one flight on weekends, operating from Chattanooga to LaGuardia on Saturday with the return on Sunday. Delta already flies from Chattanooga to its hubs in Atlanta and Detroit.

"[Passengers] are up, customer focus is up and our community recognizes those things," Hart said. "There's a lot of good buzz in this community about this airport and I want that to continue."

In February, the number of passengers boarding a plane was only up about three-tenths of a percent compared to the previous February, according to figures provided by the airport. But Hart said adding some additional flights in the "busy" months — spring and summer — should drive up those numbers even more. Last month, 34,993 travelers boarded a plane at the local airport.

"January and February are our slower months with less business travelers," Hart said at this month's Airport Authority board meeting. "I'm quite confident we will make that up in March."

Contact Allison Shirk at ashirk@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.

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