Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport

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Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport
Lovell Field
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority
Serves Chattanooga, Tennessee
Location Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.
Elevation AMSL 683 ft / 208 m
Coordinates 35°02′07″N 85°12′14″W / 35.03528°N 85.20389°W / 35.03528; -85.20389Coordinates: 35°02′07″N 85°12′14″W / 35.03528°N 85.20389°W / 35.03528; -85.20389
CHA is located in Tennessee
CHA is located in the US
Location of airport in Tennessee / United States
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2/20 7,400 2,256 Asphalt
15/33 5,575 1,699 Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Aircraft operations 55,497
FAA airport diagram

Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (IATA: CHAICAO: KCHAFAA LID: CHA), also known as Lovell Field, is a public airport located five miles (8 km) east of the central business district of Chattanooga, a city in Hamilton County, Tennessee, United States. The airport is owned and operated by the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority.[1] It is a Class C airport serviced by Chattanooga Approach.

Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport has a single concourse with five gates. Commercial service is provided by United Express, Delta Air Lines, American Eagle, and Allegiant Air. General aviation is serviced by Wilson Air Center FBO. The general aviation ramp is split into two locations, with one on the South side of the main terminal, and the other to the North. The locations are respectively referred to as "Air North" and "Air South." General aviation can find service at either location. In August 2011, Wilson Air Center opened up a facility on the west side of the field.

Currently, a flight from Chattanooga to Atlanta can take 18 minutes (from wheels up to wheels down) flying on a Canadair Regional Jet (operated by Delta Connection) or Delta Air Lines MD-80. When flight operations in Atlanta are interrupted, Chattanooga is one of the first airports to receive diversions.

It has been proposed that a new high-speed rail line be constructed from the airport to MARTA in metro Atlanta, so that it could easily serve as Atlanta's second airport.[2][3]

Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport was home to the 241st Engineering Installation Squadron (241 EIS) of the Tennessee Air National Guard until late 2010, when the squadron moved to a Bonny Oaks facility near the airport.[4]


The first scheduled air carrier operation in Tennessee took place in Chattanooga in 1928 at Marr Field, dedicated in December 1919, named for Walter L. Marr, and located off present-day Amnicola Highway.[5] Chattanooga was a stopover on the Contract Air Mail route served by Interstate Airlines between Atlanta, Georgia and Chicago, Illinois. Charles Lindbergh, the world-famous aviator who had piloted the Spirit of St. Louis over the Atlantic Ocean in May 1927, flew into Marr Field on October 5, 1927.[5]

In 1930, due to the interest and foresight of John Lovell, a new Chattanooga Airport was established with an unpaved runway at its present location and was named Lovell Field in his honor.[6] In 1936, the landing area was expanded and runways paved as a part of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA). The original terminal building was also built at that time.

During World War II, Lovell Field served as a military training facility.

Post-war growth in aviation in the 1950s led to a transfer of the airport's operations to the City of Chattanooga and significant airport expansion with construction of a new runway, which serves as the primary runway today. The original terminal building, dating from the 1930s, was expanded in 1950 and 1955 by the city before being replaced by a new terminal building in 1964.

The Airport's ownership was transferred from Chattanooga to the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority (CMAA) in July 1985.[7]

The current passenger terminal, designed by Gensler, opened in 1992.[8]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Runway 2-20

Lovell Field covers an area of 950 acres (380 ha) which contains two asphalt paved runways: 2/20 measuring 7,400 x 150 ft (2,256 x 46 m) and 15/33 measuring 5,575 x 150 ft (1,699 x 46 m).[1]

The largest aircraft currently serving the airport are the MD-80 series operated by Allegiant Air and Delta Air Lines. Delta had flown a regular mainline service for 48 years until withdrawing the service in 1995 in favor of its affiliates like Atlantic Southeast Airlines operating smaller regional jets, such as the CRJ-200, until deciding to reintroduce the service in the form of a DC-9 jet to Chattanooga in September 2012.[9][10]

For the 12-month period ending July 31, 2014, the airport had 55,497 aircraft operations, an average of 152 per day: 54% general aviation, 30% air taxi, 13% military and 3% scheduled commercial. There are 96 aircraft based at this airport: 51% jet, 36% single-engine, 12% multi-engine and 1% helicopter.[1]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations
Allegiant Air Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington–National
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Delta Connection Atlanta, Detroit
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Newark


Airlines Destinations
FedEx Express Memphis


Top Destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from CHA (Feb 2016 - Jan 2017)[11]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 197,000 Delta
2 Charlotte, North Carolina 92,000 American
3 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 39,000 American
4 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 28,000 American, United
5 Detroit, Michigan 20,000 Delta
6 Orlando/Sanford, Florida 16,000 Allegiant
7 St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida 15,000 Allegiant
8 Washington–National, D.C. 11,000 American
9 Newark, NJ 8,000 United

Accidents and incidents[edit]

On November 11, 1972, Southern Airways Flight 49, a hijacked McDonnell Douglas DC-9 with 31 passengers and 3 crew members aboard, landed at Lovell Field from Knoxville's McGhee Tyson Airport to pick up $10 million that three hijackers had demanded. After picking up the ransom money, which actually amounted to between $2 million and $2.5 million, the plane took off, bound for Havana, Cuba.[12][13][14]

On November 27, 1973, Delta Air Lines Flight 516, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, crashed short of the runway on approach to the airport. None of the 79 passengers and crew were injured in the incident, but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.

On September 19, 2007, a small twin turboprop plane ran out of fuel and crashed into the Brainerd Village Mall parking lot, approximately 2,000 feet (610 m) from the runway. The plane skidded into a telephone pole, into two parked cars, and then hit a car traveling on Brainerd Road, which runs parallel to Lovell Field. All three passengers, including the pilot, sustained major injuries but no one was killed. The person in the car traveling on Brainerd Road sustained no injuries.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for CHA (Form 5010 PDF), effective July 31, 2014
  2. ^ Pare, Mike (May 16, 2007). "Atlanta to Study Second Airport". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved February 7, 2013. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Pare, Mike (May 29, 2007). "Officials Want 2nd Atlanta Airport Scenario Studied". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved May 30, 2007. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Pare, Mike (August 18, 2011). "Vintage Jet Rides to New Home". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved December 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Jolley, Harmon (July 20, 2009). "Marr Field Preceded Lovell Field as Chattanooga's Airport". Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Pare, Mike (April 26, 2009). "Lovell Field naming rights could boost airport revenues". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "Master Plan Update" [Background] (PDF). Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority. July 2010. pp. 2–1. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  8. ^ Pickering, Andrew; Steinert, Ron (2004). The Passenger Experience: Gensler Airports. New York City: Edizioni Press, Inc. p. 62. ISBN 1-931536-14-7. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  9. ^ Pare, Mike (September 6, 2012). "Delta's Big Jets Return for Atlanta Flights". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  10. ^ Caldwell, Carla (June 12, 2012). "Delta Returns Daily [Mainline] Flight to Chattanooga After 17 Years". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  11. ^ "RITA - BTS - Transtats". 
  12. ^ "1972 Plane Hijacker, Co-Pilot Recount Ordeal". KTHV. May 25, 2011. Retrieved July 1, 2012. [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Welsch, Anthony (May 25, 2011). "Convicted Hijacker Shares Story, Details 1972 Threat to Oak Ridge". WBIR. Retrieved July 1, 2012. 
  14. ^ Derner, Jr., Philip (November 10, 2011). "On This Day in Aviation History: November 10th". Retrieved July 1, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Oops! Page Not Found.". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. 

External links[edit]