Chattanooga Airport has taken the initiative to conduct a study aimed at estimating the number of travelers from the area who fly to other cities, with the hope of using this data to attract more air service. In an interview after an Airport Authority meeting, Chattanooga Airport Chief Executive April Cameron expressed her curiosity about the number of people leaking to Atlanta and Nashville and where they are headed. To carry out the study, the airport has hired a consultant, Volaire, at a cost of $15,000, and Cameron expects the results to be available in December.
The findings of this study will be utilized to pitch more air service to airlines, which could potentially result in additional flight options from Chattanooga. A similar study conducted more than a decade ago revealed that nearly two-thirds of travelers from Chattanooga fly from other cities, with Atlanta’s airport being the preferred choice for 53% of air travelers from the area. Over the years, air traffic at Chattanooga Airport has increased significantly, with passenger boardings almost doubling from 2011 to the record-breaking year of 2019.
Despite the growth in air travel, Cameron emphasizes the importance of having up-to-date data as officials work towards attracting more air service. Chattanooga Airport officials frequently highlight the convenience of navigating through the Transportation Security Administration security checkpoint as a reason for local travelers to choose the city’s airport over driving to Atlanta or other airports. Additionally, the ongoing expansion of the terminal is expected to contribute to the attraction of more air service. The $28 million project will increase the terminal’s size by 26,000 square feet, renovate an additional 36,000 square feet, and provide more gates for passenger loading and unloading. Completion of the expansion is projected for the first quarter of 2024.
Jim Hall, the Airport Authority’s chair, expressed optimism about the recent rise in October passenger boardings, which were 21% higher compared to the previous year. Cameron estimates that the total number of passengers for the year will reach approximately 475,000, slightly below the record of 554,000 set in 2019. Furthermore, she highlighted that boardings through October are approximately 12% higher than the same period in 2022.
The leakage study being undertaken by the airport is seen as a crucial step in identifying the origin of travelers, including those from North Georgia. Officials have shown a keen interest in leisure travel, as indicated by a recent roundtable discussion among airport stakeholders. The announcement of new nonstop flights between Chattanooga and Las Vegas on Allegiant Air set to begin in May has further fueled optimism. The success of this route may pave the way for additional service.
In conclusion, Chattanooga Airport’s efforts to understand travelers’ destinations through the leakage study and its commitment to providing up-to-date data demonstrate the airport’s dedication to expanding air service options for the area.
1. Why is Chattanooga Airport funding a leakage study?
Chattanooga Airport aims to estimate the number of travelers from the area who fly to other cities, hoping to use this data to attract more air service.
2. What will the findings of the study be used for?
The airport plans to pitch more air service to airlines based on the study’s findings, potentially resulting in increased flight options from Chattanooga.
3. What was the result of a similar study conducted in the past?
A similar study conducted over a decade ago revealed that nearly two-thirds of travelers from metro Chattanooga fly from other cities, with Atlanta’s airport capturing 53% of air travelers from the area.
4. What recent developments at Chattanooga Airport are expected to contribute to attracting more air service?
The ongoing expansion of the terminal, which will increase its size by 26,000 square feet, renovate an additional 36,000 square feet, and provide more gates for passenger loading and unloading, is expected to help attract more air service.
5. Which new route was recently announced by Chattanooga Airport?
Chattanooga Airport recently announced new nonstop flights between Chattanooga and Las Vegas on Allegiant Air, set to begin in May, with the possibility of further service expansion if the route proves successful.