Chattanooga’s slight rebound shows life for US regional airports

The Tennessee regional airport will get service to both Houston and Chicago on Oct. 1.

Tennessee's Chattanooga Airport (CHA) said it will get nonstop service to Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) on Oct. 1, a sign that the COVID-19 squeeze on smaller US airports may be easing.

SkyWest Airlines will operate a new United Express route daily between CHA and IAH from Oct. 1, according to the airport. 

Additionally, twice-daily United service to ORD—which had been suspended July 1—will resume Oct. 1, according to the airport.  

CHA president and CEO Terry Hart said that “Houston is seen as a gateway to hundreds of domestic and international destinations, including Denver and San Francisco,” adding: "The addition of a Houston flight adds a new layer of convenience for business travelers and excitement for our leisure travelers.”

Airport passenger traffic was down 86.3% year-over-year (YOY) in May, according to the airport—that was an improvement over the 95% YOY plunge in April. Slight improvements appear to be continuing: passenger traffic in July was down 69.4% YOY.

Photo credit: Joe Pries