Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport personnel start handling baggage and ticketing for some passengers for the first time next month.
The move slated for Dec. 1 will begin with Allegiant Air flights, but officials would like to expand it to other carriers, said Mike Landguth, the Airport Authority president.
"We've put it out to everybody. We'll see what happens," Mr. Landguth said.
Airport officials have hired 10 people, all of whom are part time except one, Mr. Landguth said. The equipment they need, such as for hauling bags, is being leased from carriers at the airport, he said.
The airport is starting with Allegiant because it reduced the low-fare airline's cost to enter Chattanooga with flights to Orlando and Tampa Bay.
Allegiant began flying between Orlando and Chattanooga on Oct. 31. On Dec. 11, the airline starts flights to Tampa Bay.
Dan Jacobson, the Airport Authority's chairman, said the step helps the airport offer "an array of services" to Lovell Field's users.
"We heard what was needed and we responded," he said.
Under the Allegiant agreement, the carrier will pay the airport $1,000 per flight into Chattanooga. Mr. Landguth said he expects the airport to make an annual profit of $5,000 to $10,000.
But he said the new air service is expected to boost traffic to the airport, which will gain from higher parking, fee and concession revenues.
With overall airport boardings down for the year so far, officials are trying to locate new revenue sources.
Through October, boardings were off 4.82 percent to 207,213 passengers, the airport reported Monday. October boardings were up less than 1 percent compared to a year ago.
Other airports have made similar moves to help keep carriers or obtain service.
Mr. Landguth said that in the fast-changing airline environment, regional carriers such as those serving Chattanooga may take a wait-and-see attitude on the airport's baggage and ticketing services.
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